• Open Access

Assessment of the Efficacy and Potential Complications of Transjugular Liver Biopsy in Canine Cadavers


  • This research was presented at ACVS October, 2013. Work performed at The Animal Medical Center



Transjugular liver biopsy (TJLB) is used in humans at risk of bleeding. There are no reports of its use in veterinary medicine.


To assess the efficacy and potential complications of TJLB in canine cadavers, and compare with samples obtained via needle liver biopsy (NLB) and surgical liver biopsy (SLB).


Twenty-five medium and large breed canine cadavers.


Prospective study. TJLBs were procured through the right jugular vein. After biopsy, intravenous contrast and gross inspection were used to assess the biopsy site. Minor and major complications were recorded. NLBs and SLBs were then obtained. Histopathology was performed, and TJLB and NLB were compared for number of complete portal tracts (CPTs), length, and fragmentation. Pathologic process and autolysis were assessed in all samples.


All TJLBs yielded liver tissue. The proportion of minor complications was 12/25 (48%), and major complications 16/25 (64%); 13/16 (81%) of the major complications were liver capsule perforation. In 21/25 (84%), the histopathology in the SLB was reflected in the TJLBs. For cases with minimal autolysis, median number of CPTs in TJLBs was 7.5, compared with 4 in NLBs (P = .018). Median length of TJLB specimen was 28 mm compared to 22 mm in NLBs (P = .007). Fragmentation rate was median of 1.25 for TJLB compared to 1.50 in NLBs (P = .11).

Conclusions and Clinical Importance

TJLB is technically feasible and achieves comparable results to NLB and SLB. The number of complications, in particular liver capsule perforation, was greater than expected. Further studies are indicated before clinical use is recommended.