Characterization of hepatoportal microvascular dysplasia in a kindred of cairn terriers

Schermerhorn T, Center SA, Dykes NL, et al.

J Vet Intern Med 1996;10:219-230.

Hepatoportal microvascular dysplasia (MVD), a congenital disorder of the hepatic vasculature, is described in a kindred of Cairn Terrier dogs. Cairn Terrier dogs (n = 165) were evaluated using the serum bile acid test. Affected dogs, identified by abnormal fasting or postprandial serum bile acid concentrations, were divided into 2 groups. Group 1 dogs (n = 147) were used for pedigree analysis. Group 2 dogs (n = 18) were characterized on the basis of history, physical examination, clinicopathologic studies, diagnostic imaging of the liver and portal circulation, and hepatic histopathology. Group 2 contained control dogs (n = 2), dogs with hepatoportal MVD (n = 11), and dogs with macroscopic portosystemic vascular anomalies (PVSA) (n = 5). With the exception of high serum bile acid concentrations, dogs with hepatoportal MVD were indistinguishable from control dogs on the basis of history, physical examination, clinicopathologic findings, survey abdominal radiography, abdominal ultrasound, or transcolonic scintigraphy. Contrast portography in dogs with MVD revealed abnormalities of terminal twigs of the portal vasculature with out large intrahepatic or extrahepatic shunting vessels. Histopathologic abnormalities in dogs with hepatoportal MVD were similar to those reported for dogs with PSVA. Pedigree analysis suggested an autosomal inheritance for MVD. Dogs with MVD had high serum bile acid concentrations, abnormal indocyanine green clearance, and hepatic pathology suggestive of PSVA, but they lacked characteristic clinical findings of PSVA. The clinical significance of MVD is unclear. Dogs with MVD were clinically normal when evaluated but long-term follow-up is not yet available. Dogs with hepatoportal MVD should be identified at an early age to avoid confusion in future diagnostic evaluations.