Bile Duct Obstruction in Dogs

Bile Duct Obstruction in Dogs - Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment, Recovery, Management, Cost
Bile Duct Obstruction in Dogs - Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment, Recovery, Management, Cost

What is Bile Duct Obstruction?

Cholestasis is most often caused by pancreatitis or the inflammation of the pancreas. Bile duct obstruction can also be a result of liver or gallbladder diseases, and is most commonly found in the Miniature Schnauzer and Shetland Sheepdog breeds. There is no association with either gender; however, bile duct obstruction is more commonly found in middle-aged and senior dogs. Most of the causes of bile duct obstruction are easy-to-treat; however, bile duct obstruction left untreated can severely damage both the liver and the gallbladder.

Cholestasis, or obstruction of the bile duct, prevents the normal passage of bile from the liver to the gallbladder and intestines. Bile aids in digestion, removal of wastes, and processing of fats into fatty acids for use by the body. An obstruction of the bile duct causes bile to accumulate to unhealthy levels in the liver and halts the digestive processes.

Bile Duct Obstruction Average Cost

From 12 quotes ranging from $1,500 - $6,000

Average Cost

$3,000

Symptoms of Bile Duct Obstruction in Dogs

As bile duct obstruction has varying underlying causes, symptoms may vary. However, common symptoms include:

  • Jaundice, or yellowing of eyes, skin and mucous membranes
  • Lethargy
  • Excessive appetite
  • Excessive bleeding
  • Weight loss
  • Pale-colored stools
  • Orange urine
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Causes of Bile Duct Obstruction in Dogs

  • Pancreatitis
  • Cholelithiasis, or gallstones
  • Cancers of the pancreas, bile ducts, liver, intestines or lymph nodes
  • Parasitic infection
  • Complication of abdominal surgery
  • Blunt trauma
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Diagnosis of Bile Duct Obstruction in Dogs

You can aid in the veterinarian’s diagnosis by giving a thorough report of your dog’s health history, the onset of symptoms, and any incidents that may have precipitated symptoms (such as surgery or trauma).

The veterinarian will conduct a physical examination, which will identify jaundice if present. Additionally, a complete blood count will measure red and white blood cells, identifying possible anemia, which may or may not accompany bile duct obstruction. A chemical blood profile will measure liver enzymes and possible increased level bilirubin. An elevated level of bilirubin in the blood is what causes jaundice. A urinalysis will also measure bilirubin levels, as well as other electrolytes. A stool sample will be taken in order to evaluate color and composition. Bilirubin is a waste product of red blood cells, the pigment that breaks away from the red blood cells as they degrade. It is also what gives your dog’s stool its normal, dark color. Therefore, a pale colored stool is indicative of bile duct obstruction, as bilirubin accumulating in your dog’s blood and urine means it is not being processed through your dog’s digestive tract.

A blood coagulation test will be conducted in order to measure the ability of your dog’s blood to clot. X-rays and ultrasounds will be utilized in order to examine the liver, pancreas and gallbladder so that the direct causation of the bile duct obstruction may be identified. In extreme cases, exploratory surgery may be necessary in order to find the obstruction. While diagnostic surgery is an aggressive measure, it carries the added benefit of often doubling as treatment, as the surgeon may be able to remove the obstruction upon finding it.

If abnormal tissue growth, or neoplasia, is found, a biopsy will be necessary in order for the veterinarian, or specialist, to establish what type of growth she's encountered. It will either be benign or cancerous.

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Treatment of Bile Duct Obstruction in Dogs

Initial treatment will focus on stabilization, as your dog will likely require IV fluids and other supportive therapy, often antibiotics to control infections, particularly if the cause is found to be a parasitic infection. As with most conditions, the treatment suggestion will vary and depend upon the cause of the bile duct obstruction. Your dog may require surgery or treatment for cancer. However, the most common cause of bile duct obstruction is pancreatitis, which is most often treated through a diet of easy-to-digest, low-fat food for a long period of time, or throughout your dog’s life.

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Worried about the cost of Bile Duct Obstruction treatment?

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Recovery of Bile Duct Obstruction in Dogs

As the causes of bile duct obstruction are highly variable, so is the prognosis. The prognosis for the most common cause, pancreatitis, is very good, and the treatment is easy to manage through diet. Conversely, the prognoses for the possible cancers vary but are guarded.

It is important to follow the veterinarian’s care instructions, as recovery will vary according to your dog’s individual cause and course of treatment. When you first arrive home with Fido, be sure she is provided and is drinking plenty of water. If your dog is put on a specific diet, follow the diet very strictly, never giving or allowing others to give your dog treats or human food, and being sure always to secure your trash. If your dog is prescribed any medication, follow all of the veterinarian’s instructions and monitor your dog for any side effects.

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Bile Duct Obstruction Average Cost

From 12 quotes ranging from $1,500 - $6,000

Average Cost

$3,000

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Bile Duct Obstruction Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

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Shelby

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Chocolate lab

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6 Years

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1 found helpful

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1 found helpful

Has Symptoms

Jandice,Some Mild Adominal Pain

Shelby is very yellow but has been eating fine and still wags her tail and doesn't appear to be real sick. At night she seems to be in pain. The vet suggested exploratory surgery to any obstruction but I can't afford that option. Is there a reasonable chance she will pull through with the medication? I don't want her to suffer.

April 19, 2018

Shelby's Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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1 Recommendations

Jaundice can be caused by a number of things, liver disease and hemolytic anemia being two common causes. Without knowing anythign about her lab work, it is hard for me to comment on what might be going on , or how she will recover, unfortunately. If you are unable to have the exploratory performed, perhaps an ultrasound is available at a lesser cost? There are also some very good liver supplements that you can discuss with your veterinarian to see if they are appropriate in her situation - Denamarin and Ursodiol are two of those medications. I hope that she is okay.

April 19, 2018

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Greta

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Mini Pincher/ Chihuahua

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11 Years

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3 found helpful

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3 found helpful

Has Symptoms

My Dog Also Has Malabsorption

My dog was diagnosed with chronic pancreatitis. Her poops have been yellow for several years and most recently is sometimes yellow and sometimes light clay or grayish yellow most always soft serve or diarhrea. Her last blood work up showed increased conjugated bilrubin in blood. Could that mean a bile duct obstruction? I do not have money for ultrasound or xrays to confirm but is there any medications that could help or supplements or diet?

Dec. 20, 2017

Greta's Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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3 Recommendations

Thank you for contacting us about Greta. It is possible that an increased Bilirubin could mean liver disease of some type, but without knowing the other values and more about her health history, I can't say for sure if it means an obstructed bile duct, and an ultrasound is unfortunately the way that that would be diagnosed. Your veterinarian can discuss whether liver supplements or diet would be of help to her - often times with chronic pancreatitis, we also see elevated liver enzymes, and it may make more sense to treat the pancreatitis.

Dec. 20, 2017

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Bile Duct Obstruction Average Cost

From 12 quotes ranging from $1,500 - $6,000

Average Cost

$3,000

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