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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association


Objective—To determine total glutathione (GSH) and glutathione disulfide (GSSG) concentrations in liver tissues from dogs and cats with spontaneous liver disease.

Sample Population—Liver biopsy specimens from 63 dogs and 20 cats with liver disease and 12 healthy dogs and 15 healthy cats.

Procedure—GSH was measured by use of an enzymatic method; GSSG was measured after 2-vinylpyridine extraction of reduced GSH. Concentrations were expressed by use of wet liver weight and concentration of tissue protein and DNA.

Results—Disorders included necroinflammatory liver diseases (24 dogs, 10 cats), extrahepatic bile duct obstruction (8 dogs, 3 cats), vacuolar hepatopathy (16 dogs), hepatic lipidosis (4 cats), portosystemic vascular anomalies (15 dogs), and hepatic lymphosarcoma (3 cats). Significantly higher liver GSH and protein concentrations and a lower tissue DNA concentration and ratio of reduced GSH-to-GSSG were found in healthy cats, compared with healthy dogs. Of 63 dogs and 20 cats with liver disease, 22 and 14 had low liver concentrations of GSH (µmol) per gram of tissue; 10 and 10 had low liver concentrations of GSH (nmol) per milligram of tissue protein; and 26 and 18 had low liver concentrations of GSH (nmol) per microgram of tissue DNA, respectively. Low liver tissue concentrations of GSH were found in cats with necroinflammatory liver disease and hepatic lipidosis. Low liver concentrations of GSH per microgram of tissue DNA were found in dogs with necroinflammatory liver disease and cats with necroinflammatory liver disease, extrahepatic bile duct occlusion, and hepatic lipidosis.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Low GSH values are common in necroinflammatory liver disorders, extrahepatic bile duct occlusion, and feline hepatic lipidosis. Cats may have higher risk than dogs for low liver GSH concentrations. (Am J Vet Res 2002;63:1187–1197)

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in American Journal of Veterinary Research


Objective—To evaluate the accuracy of digitally scanned rhodanine-stained liver biopsy specimens for determination of hepatic copper concentration and compare results with qualitatively assigned histologic copper scores in dogs.

Sample—353 liver biopsy specimens from dogs.

Procedures—Specimens (n = 139) with quantified copper concentration ranging from 93 to 6,900 μg/g were allocated to group 1 (< 400 μg/g [37]), group 2 (401 to 1,000 μg/g [27]), group 3 (1,001 to 2,000 μg/g [34]), and group 4 (> 2,001 μg/g [41]); stained with rhodanine; and digitally scanned and analyzed with a proprietary positive pixel algorithm. Measured versus calculated copper concentrations were compared, and limits of agreement determined. Influence of nodular remodeling, fibrosis, or parenchymal loss on copper concentration was determined by digitally analyzing selected regions in 17 specimens. After method validation, 214 additional liver specimens underwent digital scanning for copper concentration determination. All sections (n = 353) were then independently scored by 2 naive evaluators with a qualitative scoring schema. Agreement between assigned scores and between assigned scores and tissue copper concentrations was determined.

Results—Linear regression was used to develop a formula for calculating hepatic copper concentration ≥ 400 μg/g from scanned sections. Copper concentrations in unremodeled specimens were significantly higher than in remodeled specimens. Qualitative scores widely overlapped among quantitative copper concentration groups.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Calculated copper concentrations determined by means of digital scanning of rhodanine-stained liver sections were highly correlated with measured values and more accurate than qualitative copper scores, which should improve diagnostic usefulness of hepatic copper concentrations and assessments in sequential biopsy specimens.

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in American Journal of Veterinary Research


Objective—To determine whether metal concentrations in canine liver specimens were influenced by specimen size, assay variability, tissue processing (formalin fixation and deparaffinization), or storage in paraffin blocks.

Sample Population—Liver specimens (fresh frozen and deparaffinized) from 2 dogs with chronic hepatitis (high copper but unremarkable iron concentration [liver 1] and unremarkable copper but high iron concentration [liver 2]) as well as fresh and deparaffinized-archived liver specimens from 20 dogs with various hepatopathies.

Procedures—Fresh frozen liver specimens (obtained via simulated needle-core and wedge biopsy), fresh hepatic tissue, and deparaffinized-archived specimens (0.5 to 14 years old) were analyzed for concentrations of copper, iron, and zinc by atomic absorption flame spectrometry. Clinical severity scores were assigned on the basis of tissue metal concentrations.

Results—Interassay variation of metal standards was < 4%. Measurements of liver tissues on 8 consecutive days yielded high coefficients of variation (3.6% to 50%) reflecting heterogenous histologic metal distribution; variation was highest in liver 1 and deparaffinized-archived tissues. Heterogenous metal distribution was confirmed by histologic evaluation. The largest range of metal concentrations was detected in wedge biopsy specimens. In tissues with high metal concentrations, copper and iron concentrations were significantly lower in needle-core versus wedge biopsy specimens. A higher zinc concentration in deparaffinized-archived specimens masked a low zinc concentration in fresh liver tissue of 10 of 20 (50%) dogs.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Retrospective measurement of copper and iron concentrations but not zinc concentrations in deparaffinized-archived liver specimens provided relevant information. The value of needle-core biopsy specimens for measurement of metal concentrations is questionable.

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in American Journal of Veterinary Research


Analysis of hepatic enzyme activities in serum samples from 1- to 3-day-old pups revealed alkaline phosphatase (alp) activities that were 30 times higher and γ-glutamyltransferase (ggt) activities that were 100 times higher than activities in clinically normal adult dogs. A study was conducted to investigate high enzyme activity in pups and to determine whether there is any association between serum enzyme activity and colostrum ingestion, passive transfer of maternal serum enzyme (in colostrum or in utero), or excessive renal or hepatic tissue enzymes. Serum enzyme activity was quantified in 15 neonatal pups before and after ingestion of colostrum and in 3 colostrum-deprived neonates fed a milk substitute. Serum samples were collected on postpartum days 0, 1, 10, 15, and 30. Enzyme activity was also quantified in serum from pregnant and lactating bitches (collected on days -2, 0, 1, 10, 30), hepatic and renal tissue from clinically normal adult dogs and 1-day-old pups, colostrum, milk (collected on days 10 and 30), and milk replacer.

Significant (P < 0.01) differences in serum ggt and alp activities between colostrum-deprived and suckling pups did not exist before initial feeding. Significant (P < 0.001) increases in serum ggt and alp activities developed within 24 hours in suckling pups, but not in the colostrum-deprived pups. At 10 and 30 days after birth, serum ggt and alp activities were less than values before suckling in all pups.

Enzyme activities in bitches’ serum remained within the normal range for adult dogs throughout whelping and lactation. Renal ggt and alp activities were substantially greater than hepatic enzyme activities in neonates and adults. Renal tissue from adults contained 3 times greater ggt and 2 times greater alp activities than that from neonates. Hepatic tissue from neonates contained 5 times more ggt activity than did hepatic tissues from clinically normal adults; however, hepatic alp activity was similar in adults and neonates.

Colostrum and milk had substantially higher enzyme activities than did bitches’ serum. Activities of ggt and alp in milk were 100 times and 10 times greater, respectively, than activities in serum through day 10. By day 30, ggt and alp activities in milk were less than before suckling. Enzyme activity was not detected in the milk substitute.

These studies reveal an association between colostrum ingestion by suckling and acute, profound increases in serum ggt and alp in 1- to 3-day-old pups. Although this phenomenon might be useful as an indicator of colostrum ingestion, it precludes the diagnostic use of either enzyme as an indicator of hepatobiliary disease in 3-day-old pups.

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in American Journal of Veterinary Research



To characterize clinical features, comorbidities, frequency of bacterial isolation, and survival time in cats with suppurative cholangitis-cholangiohepatitis syndrome (S-CCHS).


168 client-owned cats with S-CCHS.


Data were prospectively (1980 to 2019) collected regarding clinical features, comorbidities, bacterial infection, illness duration, and treatments. Variables were evaluated for associations with survival time.


Median age of cats was 10.0 years, with no breed or sex predilection observed. Common clinical features included hyporexia (82%), hyperbilirubinemia (80%), lethargy (80%), vomiting (80%), jaundice (67%), weight loss (54%), and hypoalbuminemia (50%). Comorbidities included extrahepatic bile duct obstruction (53%), cholelithiasis (42%), cholecystitis (40%), and ductal plate malformation (44%) as well as biopsy-confirmed inflammatory bowel disease (60/68 [88%]) and pancreatitis (41/44 [93%]). Bacterial cultures were commonly positive (69%) despite prebiopsy antimicrobial administration in most cats. Of surgically confirmed choleliths, diagnostic imaging identified only 58%. Among 55 cats with “idiopathic pancreatitis,” 28 (51%) were documented to have transiting choleliths, and 20 had pancreatic biopsies confirming pancreatitis. Cholelithiasis (with or without bile duct obstruction) and cholecystectomy were associated with survival advantages. Survival disadvantages were found for leukocytosis, ≥ 2-fold increased alkaline phosphatase, and hyperbilirubinemia. Cholecystoenterostomy had no survival impact. Cats with ductal plate malformations were significantly younger at diagnosis and death than other cats. Chronic treatments with antimicrobials, S-adenosylmethionine, and ursodeoxycholic acid were common postbiopsy.


S-CCHS in cats was associated with bacterial infection and various comorbidities and may be confused with pancreatitis. Surgically correctable morbidities (ie, cholecystitis, cholecystocholelithiasis) and cholecystectomy provided a significant survival advantage.

Open access
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association


Objective—To evaluate concentrations of calcium, phosphorus, zinc, iron, copper, manganese, and selenium in several commercially available dry dog foods and compare these with current Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) recommendations for maintenance of healthy dogs.

Design—Descriptive study.

Sample—45 over-the-counter dry foods formulated for maintenance of healthy dogs (ie, maintenance foods) and 5 therapeutic dry foods formulated for dogs with hepatic or renal disease.

Procedures—Mineral concentrations were measured via inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry or inductively coupled plasma atomic emission spectroscopy and compared with AAFCO-recommended minimum and maximum values.

Results—Most (39/45) maintenance foods were in compliance with AAFCO recommendations for all mineral concentrations evaluated. Calcium concentration was > 7. 1 g/1,000 kcal of metabolizable energy (ME) in 4 of 45 maintenance foods, and phosphorus concentration was > 4.6 g/1,000 kcal ME in 3 of these; 2 maintenance foods contained < 34 mg of zinc/1,000 kcal ME. These values were not within AAFCO-recommended ranges. Calcium-to-phosphorus ratio in foods formulated for dogs with renal disease was above, and copper concentration in foods formulated for dogs with hepatic disease was below, recommended ranges for healthy dogs.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Calcium concentrations exceeded recommended limits in some maintenance foods labeled for all life stages, underscoring the need to feed diets appropriately formulated for specific life stages, particularly for large- and giant-breed puppies. Studies investigating the bioavailability of minerals are necessary before firm recommendations can be made.

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association


Objective—To assess the influence of meal ingestion and orally administered erythromycin on gallbladder volume in dogs.

Animals—22 healthy dogs.

Procedures—Ultrasonographically determined gallbladder dimensions in unsedated dogs were used to calculate volume. Measurements were recorded after food was withheld for 12 hours (time 0) and 15, 30, 45, 60, 90, and 120 minutes after a 100-g meal without (n = 22) or with erythromycin (1.0 mg/kg [7], 2.5 mg/kg [7], and both dosages [8]). Gallbladder ejection fraction represented the percentage of volume change from time 0. Intraday and interday coefficients of variation determined operator repeatability and physiologic variation.

Results—We did not detect significant differences in gallbladder volume per unit of body weight between treatments at time 0 or in ejection fraction percentage within or between treatments. Median time 0 gallbladder volume was 0.6 mL/kg (range, 0.4 to 1.9) but was > 1.0 mL/kg in 3 of 22 (14%) dogs and ≤ 1.0 mL/kg in 19 of 22 (86%) dogs. Twenty dogs achieved an ejection fraction ≥ 25% with at least 1 treatment, but 2 dogs with a gallbladder volume ≤ 1.0 mL/kg at time 0 did not. Intraday and interday coefficients of variation were 18% and 25%, respectively.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Gallbladder volume ≤ 1.0 mL/kg at time 0 and ejection fraction ≥ 25% were typical. No treatment consistently induced greater gallbladder contraction. Dogs with a gallbladder volume > 1.0 mL/kg and ejection fraction < 25% may require a combined meal and erythromycin protocol.

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in American Journal of Veterinary Research


OBJECTIVE To establish reference limits for hepatic bile duct-to-arteriole ratio (BD:A) and bile duct-to-portal tract ratio (BD:PT) in healthy cats and assess whether these parameters could be used to support a diagnosis of biliary ductopenia in cats.

SAMPLE Hepatic biopsy samples from healthy cats (n = 20) and cats with ductopenia (2).

PROCEDURES Hepatic biopsy samples from healthy cats were used to count the number of bile ducts and hepatic arterioles in 20 portal tracts for each cat. Mean BD:A and mean BD:PT for each cat were calculated, and these values were used to determine reference limits for mean BD:A and mean BD:PT. Results of histologic evaluation, including immunohistochemical staining in some instances, were compared for healthy cats versus cats with ductopenia.

RESULTS Of the 400 portal tracts from healthy cats, 382 (95.5%) and 396 (99.0%) had BD:A and BD:PT, respectively, ≥ 1.0, with less variability in BD:A. Mean BD:A and BD:PT were markedly lower in both cats with ductopenia, compared with values for healthy cats. However, only mean BD:A for cats with ductopenia was below the reference limit of 0.59.

CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE Results indicated that systematic evaluation of BD:A, with a lower reference limit of 0.59 to define biliary ductopenia in cats, may be a discrete and easily applied morphometric tool to enhance detection of ductopenia in cats. However, application of this ratio required evaluation of ≥ 20 portal tracts with cross-sectioned portal elements to determine a mean BD:A value.

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in American Journal of Veterinary Research