A two-and-a-half-year-old German shepherd dog with ascites and a high concentration of blood ammonia was investigated. Sonographically, its liver was normal but the portal vein was dilated and the flow of blood within it was slow. A liver biopsy showed that the liver was normal, and did not reveal any possible cause of portal hypertension or ascites. Postmortem, the cranial part of the portal vein was dilated with a crossstriped internal surface, but the caudal part looked normal; there was a stenotic ring between the normal and dilated parts. Histology of the dilated segment revealed marked hypertrophy of both the internal circular and the external longitudinal smooth muscle layers. At the site of the stenosis, the longitudinal muscular layer was replaced by connective tissue. Circumscribed fibrosis in the wall of the portal vein was responsible for the stenosis and the subsequent prehepatic portal hypertension. The cross-striped pattern in the dilated part of the vein was the result of hypertrophy of the inner circular smooth muscle layer.
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