Bile Duct Obstruction in Dogs
There are a number of possible reasons for bile duct obstruction in dogs and gallstones are one of them.
Cholelithiasis is the presence of gallstones in the gallbladder. It can lead to an obstruction of the bile duct preventing the normal flow of bile to the intestines. It can be caused by a number of diseases, but it may also be a lifestyle condition.
Breeds susceptible to developing the condition include:
- Miniature Schnauzers
- Shetland Sheepdogs
The condition is common in middle aged to older dogs and if found in both male and female animals.
Causes and Symptoms
Aside from the presence of gallstones, a bile duct obstruction may also be caused by the following.
- Parasite infection
- Trauma – blunt trauma to the abdominal area can cause swelling and lead to an obstruction.
- Inflammation of the pancreas
- Inflammation of the liver
- Hepatic tumors – the tumors may be located near the bile duct.
- Neoplasia – this is the abnormal growth of tissue in the liver or near the duct. It can be either malignant or benign.
Symptoms can vary depending on the underlying disease that is causing the obstruction. In general, the symptoms are going to include:
- Jaundice – this results from the presence of bile in the blood.
- Polyphagia – increased appetite or hunger as a result of malnutrition.
- Weight loss
- Pale colored stools – this is because there is an absence of bile in the stool and bile is what gives stool is brown coloration.
- Orange urine – the bile is excreted out of the urine as it is filtered from the blood.
- Progressive tiredness
- Tenderness – the dog may react when the abdomen or when the liver is palpated.
Treatment of Bile Duct Problems in Dogs
Treatment varies from one case to another. When the obstruction is caused by the presence of stones or tumors in the bile duct, surgery may become necessary. If it is caused by inflammation, antibacterial medication may be given to treat it. If neoplasia is the cause of the obstruction, chemotherapy may be considered together with surgery.
Supportive treatments will also be dispensed together with the main therapy. Treatments that may be used include:
- Fluid replacement therapy may be provided for dogs that are dehydrated.
- Nutritional and electrolyte replacement for dogs which are malnourished.
- Pain medication
- Cage rest
Following treatment, owners may have to implement dietary changes in their dogs, especially if the obstruction was caused by the presence of gallstones.
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