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Keywords:

  • angiography;
  • caudal vena cava obstruction;
  • collateral vessels;
  • computed tomography

Collateral venous pathways develop in dogs with obstruction or increased blood flow resistance at any level of the caudal vena cava in order to maintain venous drainage to the right atrium. The purpose of this retrospective study was to describe the sites, causes of obstruction, and configurations of venous collateral pathways for a group of dogs with caudal vena cava obstruction. Computed tomography databases from two veterinary hospitals were searched for dogs with a diagnosis of caudal vena cava obstruction and multidetector row computed tomographic angiographic (CTA) scans that included the entire caudal vena cava. Images for each included dog were retrieved and collateral venous pathways were characterized using image postprocessing and a classification system previously reported for humans. A total of nine dogs met inclusion criteria and four major collateral venous pathways were identified: deep (n = 2), portal (n = 2), intermediate (n = 7), and superficial (n = 5). More than one collateral venous pathway was present in 5 dogs. An alternative pathway consisting of renal subcapsular collateral veins, arising mainly from the caudal pole of both kidneys, was found in three dogs. In conclusion, findings indicated that collateral venous pathway patterns similar to those described in humans are also present in dogs with caudal vena cava obstruction. These collateral pathways need to be distinguished from other vascular anomalies in dogs. Postprocessing of multidetector-row CTA images allowed delineation of the course of these complicated venous pathways and may be a helpful adjunct for treatment planning in future cases.