Objective—To compare long-term survival and quality of life data in dogs with clinical signs associated with a congenital portosystemic shunt (CPSS) that underwent medical or surgical treatment.
Design—Prospective cohort study.
Animals—124 client-owned dogs with CPSS.
Procedures—Dogs received medical or surgical treatment without regard to signalment, clinical signs, or clinicopathologic results. Survival data were analyzed with a Cox regression model. Quality of life information, obtained from owner questionnaires, included frequency of CPSS-associated clinical signs (from which a clinical score was derived), whether owners considered their dog normal, and (for surgically treated dogs) any ongoing medical treatment for CPSS. A Mann-Whitney U test was used to compare mean clinical score data between surgically and medically managed dogs during predetermined follow-up intervals.
Results—97 dogs underwent surgical treatment; 27 were managed medically. Median follow-up time for all dogs was 1,936 days. Forty-five dogs (24 medically managed and 21 surgically managed) died or were euthanized during the follow-up period. Survival rate was significantly improved in dogs that underwent surgical treatment (hazard ratio, 8.11; 95% CI, 4.20 to 15.66) than in those treated medically for CPSS. Neither age at diagnosis nor shunt type affected survival rate. Frequency of clinical signs was lower in surgically versus medically managed dogs for all follow-up intervals, with a significant difference between groups at 4 to 7 years after study entry.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Surgical treatment of CPSS in dogs resulted in significantly improved survival rate and lower frequency of ongoing clinical signs, compared with medical management. Age at diagnosis did not affect survival rate and should not influence treatment choice.