Gastroduodenal ulceration in dogs with liver disease

J Vet Intern Med. 2022 May;36(3):986-992. doi: 10.1111/jvim.16413. Epub 2022 Mar 21.


Background: Liver disease is frequently cited as a cause of gastroduodenal ulceration (GDU) in dogs but studies regarding GDU and liver disease are limited.

Objectives: To document the presence of GDU in dogs with liver disease.

Animals: Forty dogs that underwent liver biopsy, computed tomographic (CT) angiography or both at the University of Florida Small Animal Hospital to diagnose congenital or acquired liver disease.

Methods: Cross-sectional study. Dogs had gastroduodenoscopy performed with photographic and video documentation in a standardized fashion. Lesions (hemorrhage, erosions, ulcers) in the esophagus, stomach, and duodenum were scored based on a grading scale. Presence of esophageal varices was recorded. Dogs were categorized into 4 groups according to cause of liver disease (inflammatory disease, cirrhosis, congenital, other). Presence or absence of ulcers, erosions or both as well as total endoscopic scores were compared among groups.

Results: Forty dogs were enrolled with the following distribution: 13 congenital, 13 inflammatory, 3 cirrhosis, and 11 other. Four dogs had GDU (10%; 95% confidence interval [CI], 3%-24%) and 6 dogs had erosions (15%; 95% CI, 6%-30%). No difference was found in total endoscopic score (P = .21) or in the proportion of dogs with ulcers, erosions or both versus those without (P = .25) among the groups.

Conclusions and clinical importance: Gastroduodenal ulceration was found in 10% of dogs with liver disease in this population. Additional studies are warranted to confirm these findings in larger numbers of dogs with specific disease etiologies.

Keywords: esophageal varices; hepatic disease; hepatic shunt; ulcers.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Dog Diseases*
  • Dogs
  • Esophageal and Gastric Varices* / veterinary
  • Liver Cirrhosis / veterinary
  • Stomach Ulcer* / veterinary
  • Ulcer / veterinary