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Morphology of congenital intrahepatic portacaval shunts in dogs and cats
  1. C. R. Lamb, MA, VetMB, DipACVR, DipECVDI, MRCVS1 and
  2. R. N. White, BSc, BVetMed, CertVA, DipECVS, MRCVS1
  1. 1 Department of Small Animal Medicine and Surgery, Royal Veterinary College, University of London, Hawkshead Lane, North Mymms, Hertfordshire AL9 7TA


The preoperative ultrasound images and biplanar operative mesenteric portograms of 28 dogs and six cats with congenital intrahepatic portacaval shunts were reviewed retrospectively. On the basis of the combined surgical, postmortem and imaging data, the shunts were classified according to their location within the liver and their shape. Thirteen dogs and four cats had a left-divisional shunt with a relatively consistent bent tubular shape that drained into the left hepatic vein. Another 13 dogs had a central-divisional shunt that took the form of a foramen between dilated portions of the intrahepatic portal vein and caudal vena cava. One cat with a central-divisional shunt had a tortuous vessel. The remaining two dogs and one cat had right-divisional shunts that were large, tortuous vessels. The morphology of a left-divisional shunt is compatible with patent ductus venosus, but the pathogenesis of central and right-divisional shunts is unknown. It is concluded that intrahepatic portacaval shunts in dogs and cats may be classified as left, central or right divisional. Ultrasound enables a preoperative morphological assessment that correlates well with the results of portography and may aid surgical planning.

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