Prevalence of hepatic lesions at post-mortem examination in dogs and association with pancreatitis

J Small Anim Pract. 2010 Nov;51(11):566-72. doi: 10.1111/j.1748-5827.2010.00996.x.


Objectives: To assess the prevalence of canine chronic hepatitis (CH) and other liver diseases in first opinion practice and identify associations with concurrent chronic pancreatitis (CP).

Methods: One large section of left lateral lobe of liver was taken from 200 unselected canine post-mortem examinations from first opinion practices. Histological changes were categorised based on WSAVA criteria. Prevalence of CH and other liver diseases were calculated. Relative risks (RR) for liver histopathology in association with CP and for CH in different breeds were also calculated.

Results: The prevalence of CH was 12%. Some breeds had an increased RR of CH, although sample sizes were small. Dogs with CP had an increased RR of reactive hepatitis but no significant association with the other liver diseases.

Clinical significance: CH is common in the first opinion dog population but less common than CP. CP was significantly associated with reactive hepatitis but not CH. Possible breed associations mirrored another recent UK study. Some dogs with CP may be erroneously diagnosed clinically as having CH on the basis of increased serum liver enzymes because of concurrent reactive hepatitis if the diagnosis is not confirmed histologically.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Breeding
  • Cadaver
  • Dog Diseases / epidemiology
  • Dog Diseases / pathology*
  • Dogs
  • Female
  • Hepatitis, Animal / epidemiology
  • Hepatitis, Animal / pathology*
  • Liver / pathology*
  • Male
  • Pancreatitis / epidemiology
  • Pancreatitis / pathology
  • Pancreatitis / veterinary*
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Factors
  • Severity of Illness Index