Seven cases of hepatic arterioportal fistulae in young dogs (mean age 6 months) are described. All cases were presumed to be congenital in origin. The onset of clinical signs, which frequently included gastrointestinal and neurological disturbances, was usually sudden. All dogs had clinical evidence of portal hypertension in the form of ascites, and all developed multiple extrahepatic portacaval venous shunts consequential to portal hypertension. The neurological disturbances were likely the result of portacaval shunting. The arterial and venous vessels involved in the fistulae had markedly altered wall structure. Hepatic regions adjacent to the fistulae frequenlty evidenced marked bile duct proliferation. Hepatic parenchymal atrophy, relative collapse of distributing portal veins, dilatation of hepatic arterial branches and proliferation of hepatic arterioles were seen throughout the liver: these changes closely resembled those present with portacaval shunting in the absence of hepatic arterioportal fistulae. The importance of recognizing that hepatic arterioportal fistulae and multiple extrahepatic portacaval shunts usually coexist and separately influence the morphological appearance of the liver is stressed.
ASJC Scopus subject areas