Background: Serious postoperative hemorrhage has been reported in dogs after closure of congenital portosystemic shunts (CPS).
Hypothesis: In dogs with portosystemic shunting, low coagulation factor activity is responsible for coagulopathy, which can cause complications after surgery.
Animals: Thirty-four dogs with CPS and 39 healthy dogs.
Methods: In a prospective study, coagulation times, platelet count, and the activity of 8 coagulation factors were measured in dogs before and after surgical shunt attenuation and in 31 healthy dogs. The effect of abdominal surgery on hemostasis was determined at ovariectomy in 8 healthy dogs.
Results: Dogs with CPS had lower platelet counts, lower activity of factors II, V, VII, and X, and increased factor VIII and activated partial thromboplastin time (APTT) compared to healthy dogs. After surgical attenuation, dogs with CPS had decreased platelet counts and activity of factors I, II, V, VII, IX, X, and XI and a prolonged prothrombin time (PT). Ovariectomy resulted in decreased activity of factors VII and X. Six weeks after surgery, portosystemic shunting persisted in 9 of 30 dogs, with no improvement of hemostatic values. CPS dogs without shunting had improved coagulation times and increased activity of factors II, V, VII, and X.
Conclusions and clinical importance: Dogs with CPS have lower activity of clotting factors compared to healthy dogs, resulting in a prolonged APTT. Surgical attenuation of the shunt results in increased abnormalities in coagulation times and factors immediately after surgery. Hemostasis is normalized after complete recovery of shunting after attenuation, in contrast to dogs with persistent shunting.