Clinical and diagnostic features of portosystemic shunt in a foal.

A. M. Buonanno, G. P. Carlson, B. Kantrowitz

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31 Scopus citations


Portosystemic shunt was diagnosed in a 6-month-old Quarter Horse filly with acute onset of apparent blindness and a 3-month history of depression, lethargy, and ataxia. Clinicopathologic test results indicated slightly high gamma-glutamyl transpeptidase activity and serum total bilirubin concentration. Sulfobromophthalein half time was prolonged, and plasma ammonia and serum bile acid concentrations were high as well. Histopathologic findings of percutaneous liver biopsy included widespread hepatocyte atrophy and numerous prominent small arterioles in the area of the portal triad. On the basis of history, clinical findings, and clinicopathologic abnormalities, a presumptive diagnosis of portosystemic vascular anomaly was made. To confirm the tentative diagnosis, nuclear hepatic scintigraphy and operative mesenteric portography were performed. Medical treatment was unsuccessful, and the foal was euthanatized. Portosystemic shunts have been described in dogs and cats, but few cases have been reported in large animal species. Other, more common causes of neurologic abnormalities in foals, such as trauma, vertebral body abscesses, brain abscesses, and meningitis, must be ruled out before portosystemic shunt is considered.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)387-389
Number of pages3
JournalJournal of the American Veterinary Medical Association
Issue number3
StatePublished - Feb 1 1988
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • veterinary(all)


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