Outcome in 38 dogs surgically treated for hepatic abscessation

Vet Surg. 2023 Jan;52(1):127-133. doi: 10.1111/vsu.13921. Epub 2022 Nov 22.


Objective: To report outcomes following surgical treatment of hepatic abscessation in dogs.

Study design: Retrospective.

Animals: Thirty-eight dogs.

Methods: Records from 6 institutions were evaluated for dogs undergoing surgical treatment for hepatic abscessation between 2010 and 2020. Signalment, clinical signs, medical therapy, surgical treatment, and postoperative outcome was obtained from medical records. Long-term outcome was recorded when possible. Median survival time was assessed using the Kaplan-Meier product-limit method.

Results: Peritoneal effusion was documented in 32/38 dogs preoperatively, with septic peritonitis confirmed in 21/23 samples. Liver lobectomy was the most common surgery (27 dogs). A single organism was cultured in 24/35 dogs, most commonly Escherichia coli. Hepatic neoplasia was identified in 11/36 dogs. Dogs were hospitalized for a median of 5 days (range, 3-17) with complications recorded in 21 dogs (regurgitation, aspiration pneumonia, and pancreatitis most commonly). Two dogs died intraoperatively, and 6 dogs died prior to discharge. Median survival time for dogs surviving to discharge was 638 days. Of these, 19 were lost to follow up a median of 301 (range, 3-1418) days postoperatively and 11 died a median of 291 (range, 7-1292) days postoperatively. No abscess recurrence was noted.

Conclusion: Septic peritonitis was a common sequela to hepatic abscessation. Perioperative complications were recorded in approximately one-third of dogs. In dogs surviving the postoperative period, long-term prognosis was good.

Clinical significance: Dogs treated surgically for hepatic abscessation have a high risk of perioperative complications but favorable long-term prognosis and apparent low risk of recurrence.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Dog Diseases* / surgery
  • Dogs
  • Liver Neoplasms* / veterinary
  • Peritonitis* / veterinary
  • Postoperative Period
  • Prognosis
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Treatment Outcome