Clinical features and outcomes in 38 dogs with cholelithiasis receiving conservative or surgical management


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Abstract: Background: Ursodeoxycholic acid is used in human medicine for litholytic management of choleliths, but the efficacy of medical management in dogs with cholelithiasis is unknown. Objectives: To describe the clinical features and outcomes of dogs with cholelithiasis, focusing on cases that received medical treatment, and to identify patient factors that influenced decision‐making for surgical or medical management. Animals: Thirty‐eight dogs with cholelithiasis identified on abdominal ultrasonography (AUS). Methods: Medical records of dogs with cholelithiasis on AUS between 2010 and 2019 were retrospectively reviewed. Cases were classified as symptomatic (n = 18) or incidental (n = 20) and divided into medically treated (n = 13), surgically treated (n = 10), and no treatment (n = 15) groups. Biochemical variables and cholelith location were compared between symptomatic and incidental groups using Mann‐Whitney U and chi‐squared tests, respectively. Survival times were compared using Kaplan‐Meier survival analysis. Results: Symptomatic cases had higher alkaline phosphatase (P = .03), gamma‐glutamyl transferase (P = .03), and alanine transferase (P = .02) activities than did incidental cases. A higher proportion of symptomatic cases (44.4%) had choledocholithiasis than did incidental cases (0%; P = .003). Seventy percent of surgically managed dogs, 7.7% of medically managed dogs, and 0% of nontreated dogs had choledocholiths at presentation. Seventeen dogs had follow‐up AUS: cholelithiasis completely resolved in 4/8 medically treated, 5/7 of surgically treated, and 1/2 nontreated dogs. Median survival time was 457.4 days, with no significant difference between incidental and symptomatic dogs. Conclusions and Clinical Importance: Medical treatment can be effective for management of cholelithiasis in dogs, with clinical presentation and cholelith location playing important roles in treatment decision‐making.

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STANDARD ARTICLE, STANDARD ARTICLES, biliary tract, cholecystectomy, cholelith, gall bladder, ursodeoxycholic acid
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Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine
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John Wiley & Sons, Inc.