Objective—To determine risk, clinical features, and treatment responses for gallbladder disorders in Shetland Sheepdogs.
Design—Retrospective case-control study.
Animals—38 Shetland Sheepdogs with gallbladder disease.
Procedures—Medical records were reviewed for signalment, history, physical findings, laboratory results, imaging features, coexistent illnesses, histologic findings, treatments, and survival rates.
Results—Mature dogs with gastrointestinal signs were predisposed (odds ratio, 7.2) to gallbladder disorders. Gallbladder mucocele was confirmed in 25 dogs. Concurrent problems included pancreatitis, hyperlipidemia, corticosteroid excess, hypothyroidism, protein-losing nephropathy, diabetes mellitus, cholelithiasis, and gallbladder dysmotility. Mortality rate was 68% with and 32% without bile peritonitis. Nonsurvivors had high WBC and neutrophil count and low potassium concentration. Although preprandial hypercholesterolemia, hypertriglyceridemia, and high serum liver enzyme activities were common, gallbladder disease was serendipitously discovered in 11 of 38 dogs. Histologic examination (n = 20 dogs) revealed gallbladder cystic mucosal hyperplasia in 20 dogs, cholecystitis in 16, periportal hepatitis in 9, and vacuolar hepatopathy in 7. Surgery included cholecystectomy (n = 17) and cholecystoenterostomy (4). In 1 hyperlipidemic dog without clinical signs, gallbladder mucocele resolved 6 months after beginning use of a fat-restricted diet and ursodeoxycholic acid.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Shetland Sheepdogs are predisposed to gallbladder disorders, with mucoceles and concurrent dyslipidemia or dysmotility in many affected dogs. Most dogs were without clinical signs during mucocele development. Low survival rate after cholecystectomy in clinically affected dogs suggested that preemptive surgical interventions may be a more appropriate treatment strategy.