The congenital portosystemic shunts in 23 dogs were closed partially in 18 and completely in five with a single silk ligature. The clinical results were studied and the degree of portosystemic shunting was measured by a scintigraphic method, the results being expressed as the shunt index (SI). In 17 of the dogs, the mean (sd) SI decreased from 0.92 (0.16) before surgery to 0.34 (0.25) during surgery after the attenuation of the shunt, and then to 0.10 (0.12) one month later. The dogs' venous ammonia concentration decreased from 203 (122) μM before surgery to 36 (18) one month after surgery. At the same time the clinical scores improved significantly. There were positive correlations between the SI and the general evaluation of the dogs' well-being by their owners (rs=0.60), the ammonia concentration (rs=0.86), and the diameter of the shunt (rs=0.86). In the other six dogs, the intraoperative and/or postoperative SI was high. In two of them the shunt was further attenuated during a second operation, which resulted in lower SI values; in two a second small shunt was responsible for the high SI; in one multiple portosystemic shunts were found postmortem; and one dog was lost to follow-up.
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