Objective—To compare survival of dogs with a congenital portosystemic shunt (CPSS) that received medical or surgical treatment.
Design—Prospective cohort study.
Animals—126 client-owned dogs with a single CPSS.
Procedures—Dogs were examined at 1 of 3 referral clinics, and a single CPSS was diagnosed in each. Dogs received medical or surgical treatment without regard to signalment, clinical signs, or results of hematologic or biochemical analysis. Survival data were analyzed via a Cox regression model.
Results—During a median follow-up period of 579 days, 18 of 126 dogs died as a result of CPSS. Dogs treated via surgical intervention survived significantly longer than did those treated medically. Hazard ratio for medical versus surgical treatment of CPSS (for the treatment-only model) was 2.9 (95% confidence interval, 1.1 to 7.2). Age at CPSS diagnosis did not affect survival.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Both medical and surgical treatment can be used to achieve long-term survival of dogs with CPSS, although results of statistical analysis supported the widely held belief that surgery is preferable to medical treatment. However, the study population consisted of dogs at referral clinics, which suggested that efficacy of medical treatment may have been underestimated. Although surgical intervention was associated with a better chance of long-term survival, medical management provided an acceptable first-line option. Age at examination did not affect survival, which implied that early surgical intervention was not essential. Dogs with CPSS that do not achieve acceptable resolution with medical treatment can subsequently be treated surgically.
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.