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  • Author or Editor: Ann M. Chiapella x
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Objective—To determine signalments, clinical features, clinicopathologic variables, imaging findings, treatments, and survival time of cats with presumed primary copper-associated hepatopathy (PCH) and to determine quantitative measures and histologic characteristics of the accumulation and distribution of copper in liver samples of cats with presumed PCH, extrahepatic bile duct obstruction, chronic nonsuppurative cholangitis-cholangiohepatitis, and miscellaneous other hepatobiliary disorders and liver samples of cats without hepatobiliary disease.

Design—Retrospective cross-sectional study.

Animals—100 cats with hepatobiliary disease (PCH [n = 11], extrahepatic bile duct obstruction [14], cholangitis-cholangiohepatitis [37], and miscellaneous hepatobiliary disorders [38]) and 14 cats without hepatobiliary disease.

Procedures—From 1980 to 2013, cats with and without hepatobiliary disease confirmed by liver biopsy and measurement of hepatic copper concentrations were identified. Clinical, clinicopathologic, and imaging data were compared between cats with and without PCH.

Results—Cats with PCH were typically young (median age, 2.0 years); clinicopathologic and imaging characteristics were similar to those of cats with other liver disorders. Copper-specific staining patterns and quantification of copper in liver samples confirmed PCH (on the basis of detection of > 700 μg/g of liver sample dry weight). Six cats with PCH underwent successful treatment with chelation (penicillamine; n = 5), antioxidants (5), low doses of elemental zinc (2), and feeding of hepatic support or high-protein, low-carbohydrate diets, and other hepatic support treatments. One cat that received penicillamine developed hemolytic anemia, which resolved after discontinuation of administration. Three cats with high hepatic copper concentrations developed hepatocellular neoplasia.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results suggested that copper accumulates in livers of cats as primary and secondary processes. Long-term management of cats with PCH was possible.

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association


Objective—To characterize signalment, clinical features, clinicopathologic variables, hepatic ultrasonographic characteristics, endocrinologic profiles, treatment response, and age at death of Scottish Terriers with progressive vacuolar hepatopathy (VH) with or without hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC).

Design—Retrospective case series.

Animals—114 Scottish Terriers with progressive VH.

Procedures—Electronic databases from 1980 to 2013 were searched for adult (age > 1 year) Scottish Terriers with histopathologic diagnoses of diffuse glycogen-like VH. Available sections of liver specimens were histologically reevaluated to confirm diffuse VH with or without HCC; 8 dogs with HCC only had neoplastic tissue available. Physical examination, clinicopathologic, treatment, and survival data were obtained.

Results—39 of 114 (34%) dogs with VH had HCC detected at surgery or necropsy or by abdominal ultrasonography. Histologic findings indicated that HCC was seemingly preceded by dysplastic hepatocellular foci. No significant differences were found in clinicopathologic variables or age at death between VH-affected dogs with or without HCC. Fifteen of 26 (58%) dogs with high hepatic copper concentrations had histologic features consistent with copper-associated hepatopathy. Although signs consistent with hyperadrenocorticism were observed in 40% (46/114) of dogs, definitive diagnosis was inconsistently confirmed. Assessment of adrenal sex hormone concentrations before and after ACTH administration identified high progesterone and androstenedione concentrations in 88% (22/25) and 80% (20/25) of tested dogs, respectively.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results suggested that VH in Scottish Terriers may be linked to adrenal steroidogenesis and a predisposition to HCC. In dogs with VH, frequent serum biochemical analysis and ultrasonographic surveillance for early tumor detection are recommended.

Full access
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association