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Morphology of splenocaval congenital portosystemic shunts in dogs and cats

R. N. White, A. T. Parry

THE use of imaging techniques such as ultrasonography, intraoperative mesenteric portovenography (IOMP) and CT angiography (CTA) makes it possible to broadly classify congenital portosystemic shunts (PSS) as either intrahepatic or extrahepatic. This study aimed to define the morphology of congenital extra-hepatic portosystemic shunts (EHPSS) that had previously been named ‘splenocaval shunts’ in a series of consecutive clinical cases.

Dogs and cats which had been seen by the authors between 1997 and 2014 for the investigation and management of congenital PSS were included in the study. All cases (98 dogs and eight cats) had a highly consistent shunt that involved a distended gastrosplenic vein that communicated with the caudal vena cava at the level of the epiploic foramen via an anomalous left gastric vein. Using the combined data of IOMP, gross findings during surgery and CTA, the morphology of EHPSS involving the splenic vein communicating with the prehepatic vena cava at the level of the epiploic foramen was compared.

The authors note that the findings of their study support the previous suggestion that, embryologically, it is the development of the left gastric vein that is critical in the formation of this type of shunt. There was very …

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