Gallbladder Obstruction in Dogs

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

What is Gallbladder Obstruction?

Gallbladder problems of an obstructive nature can have significant implications on your dog’s well-being. Problems such as pancreatitis, cancer, parasitic infection, bile duct malformation or a gallbladder cyst can all lead to a gallbladder obstruction. Resolution of a gallbladder obstruction will depend on the cause and the severity of the event at the time of discovery. A gallbladder obstruction is dangerous because it can rapidly lead to additional health issues for your dog.

The gallbladder is a small organ which concentrates bile that has been delivered from the liver. From the gallbladder, bile (fluid that aids digestion) is released and moves down the common bile duct through the pancreas and to the small intestine. An obstruction of the gallbladder can cause serious complications to your pet’s health.
Youtube Play

Gallbladder Obstruction Average Cost

From 41 quotes ranging from $1,500 - $8,000

Average Cost

$3,000

Symptoms of Gallbladder Obstruction in Dogs

It is important to note that early intervention of a gallbladder obstruction is imperative. Take your dog to the veterinarian without delay if he seems unwell, this may including acting differently, or general weakness. Jaundice (a yellow tinge in eyes, mucus membranes and skin) is a prominent sign of gallbladder issues, because of the involvement of the liver. Other symptoms may present as follows:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Appetite loss
  • Lethargy
  • Fever
  • Vomiting
arrow-up-icon

Top

Causes of Gallbladder Obstruction in Dogs

Gallbladder obstructions may present themselves in several ways. Any obstructive problem that affects the absorption of fats and the normal digestive process of your pet can cause serious effects and consequences:

  • Distention of the gallbladder, because it is filled with too much mucus and bile will result in a backup and lack of flow into the bile duct and intestine
  • Cancerous tumors in the pancreas, liver, lymph nodes, liver and bile duct can cause the gallbladder to become blocked
  • If the pancreas has swelled, bile duct may be restricted thus causing a distention in the gallbladder which can lead to an eventual obstruction
  • If the bile becomes too concentrated, the movement can be cut off as the bile forms gallstones
  • A high fat diet may result in the development of supersaturated levels of cholesterol in the bile
  • Lipid metabolism, which is secondary to diseases such as pancreatitis, results in excessive amounts of fat in the blood
  • Gallbladder dysmotility (a lack of normal movement) can result in the formation of obstructions such as gallstones
arrow-up-icon

Top

Diagnosis of Gallbladder Obstruction in Dogs

The early diagnosis of gallbladder obstruction and prompt treatment intervention are crucial to complete recovery for your pet. Rupture of the gallbladder will cause bile to leak into the abdomen and can be fatal if the rupture is not repaired in a timely manner. Your dog should be seen by the veterinarian at the first sign of illness or unexplained change in behavior. When you first arrive at the clinic or emergency room, be prepared to list the symptoms that are causing you concern as they may not be immediately noticeable to the veterinarian.

The veterinarian may diagnose a bladder obstruction after an examination that will include blood work (to check serum levels and enzyme activity). High enzyme activity in the liver enzymes ALP, AST, ALT and GGT proves a liver illness. Low albumin, increased bilirubin (causing jaundice), and electrolyte imbalances are commonly seen. High triglycerides will be discovered and are due to the excessive fats and cholesterol in the blood and bile.

An abdominal ultrasound may show evidence of pancreatic, gallbladder, liver or bile duct abnormalities. For example, the wall of the gallbladder may be thicker than normal, or the bile ducts may be inflamed or show evidence of hindered bile flow. In some cases, if ultrasound or x-ray are unable to provide an accurate diagnosis, an exploratory laparotomy will be done, with your pet undergoing anesthesia for the procedure.

arrow-up-icon

Top

Treatment of Gallbladder Obstruction in Dogs

Treatment for an obstruction will essentially mean surgery. The obstruction must be removed in all cases, although treatment of secondary pancreatitis sometimes can relieve the blockage. As pancreatic inflammation is reduced, the obstruction may spontaneously resolve. If the blockage remains, surgery will take place. An operation called a cholecystoduodenostomy, which will connect the gallbladder directly to the intestine (bypassing the pancreas) may be a possibility.

Obstructions caused by biliary sludge or infectious material may be removed surgically. Sometimes if large gallstones are present, a surgical procedure called a cholecystectomy can be done to remove the gallbladder entirely. It should be made clear that many dogs live a good life after the removal of the gallbladder as long as a diet low in fat is maintained. Prompt treatment and antibiotics allow for a positive outcome.

If there is a hindrance within the hepatic ducts, rather than the gallbladder, the objective can be harder to reach. Also, if cancer is suspected, a biopsy will be performed and surgery done to remove the gallbladder. However, continued treatment for the eradication of cancer must be put in place.

arrow-up-icon

Top

Worried about the cost of Gallbladder Obstruction treatment?

Pet Insurance covers the cost of many common pet health conditions. Prepare for the unexpected by getting a quote from top pet insurance providers.

Recovery of Gallbladder Obstruction in Dogs

Treatment of gallbladder obstruction in dogs avoids the unfortunate complications of a ruptured gallbladder, fluid build up in the abdomen, and bile duct distention. The prognosis of recovery for your dog is positive as long as the obstruction is managed in the early stages. Of course, there is forever the risk of secondary obstacles to recovery such as infection, or cancer (which will entail treatment to eliminate all signs and symptoms of the disease).

The veterinarian will recommend a diet restrictive in high fat. It is known that fish oils decrease biliary cholesterol, thus making an omega 3 supplement a good addition to your dog’s eating regimen. Minerals and vitamins such as zinc (shown to offer liver protection), and vitamins C, K, and B’s are suggested as further aids to continued health. Regular follow up with the veterinarian for bloodwork and ultrasound imaging is always best in order to monitor the wellbeing of your dog and exclude complications or recurrences of organ issues.

arrow-up-icon

Top

Cost of Gallbladder Obstruction in Dogs

The overall goal is to remove the obstruction, this usually means surgery. One of the surgery options is called a Cholecystoduodenostomy ($3,000-$6,000). That big scary word (and big scary cost) simply means that the veterinarian will surgically form communication between your dog’s gallbladder and the duodenum. Another option is a surgery called a Cholecystectomy ($800-$1,250). This surgery is done to remove the gallbladder completely. Either surgery option will need to be combined with the proper antibiotics ($15-$30) to ensure your dog doesn’t suffer from infection. The veterinarian will also suggest changing your dog’s diet to a low-fat dog food ($15-$30 per bag). This diet change is essential especially if the gallbladder is completely removed. Finally, if the veterinarian finds a tumor or growth, it should be removed and biopsied ($160-$170) to check for cancer. If cancer is found, the proper treatments will follow.

arrow-up-icon

Top

Gallbladder Obstruction Average Cost

From 41 quotes ranging from $1,500 - $8,000

Average Cost

$3,000

arrow-up-icon

Top

Gallbladder Obstruction Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

dog-name-icon

dog-breed-icon

Golden Retriever

dog-age-icon

Ten Years

thumbs-up-icon

2 found helpful

thumbs-up-icon

2 found helpful

Has Symptoms

Ggt Was High

My dogs GGT test was high two weeks ago but liver and kidney were normal then he started medications ( antibiotics and other medicines to lower the GGT test and being fed through suspension of solutions. Yesterday he did the ggt test and thank god it became within the normal range but the TP ( total protein is a high but still within the normal but the highest normal ) and still he doesn’t want to eat he barely walks . I’m feeding him through the solutions and through a tube I blend chicken with oats and carrots but he doesn’t want to eat and becoming really skinny. What could I do ? Thank you

Sept. 29, 2020

Owner

answer-icon

Dr. Michele K. DVM

recommendation-ribbon

2 Recommendations

Thank you for your question, I'm sorry that your dog is having problems. A high total protein in the face of other things generally means dehydration. It sounds like your dog is actually quite ill, and it may be time to seek the advice of a specialist if your veterinarian is not able to manage him properly. Your Veterinarian may be doing a fine job, and that is something that you can discuss with them, whether they feel comfortable continuing his care, or if they think a specialist might be in order. I hope that everything goes well for him and he feels better soon.

Sept. 29, 2020

Was this experience helpful?

dog-name-icon

dog-breed-icon

Pug

dog-age-icon

Four Years

thumbs-up-icon

1 found helpful

thumbs-up-icon

1 found helpful

Has Symptoms

Painful Urination

My pug had his urinary tract rerouted 2 years ago and he is doing great on C/D food. My question is that he loves to eat vegetables and fruits so I was wondering what ones are actually ok to give him as treats so he won't develop any stones?

Sept. 27, 2020

Owner

answer-icon

Dr. Michele K. DVM

recommendation-ribbon

1 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. Citrus foods are best avoided to keep in line the pH that C/D is trying to achieve. Otherwise, fruits and vegetables IN SMALL QUANTITIES should be okay for him to eat. If you are not sure, it is always okay to take a urine sample to your veterinarian and have them analyze the pH to make sure it is still where they want it.

Oct. 12, 2020

Was this experience helpful?

Gallbladder Obstruction Average Cost

From 41 quotes ranging from $1,500 - $8,000

Average Cost

$3,000

Need pet insurance?
Need pet insurance?

Learn more in the Wag! app

Five starsFive starsFive starsFive starsFive stars

43k+ reviews

Install


© 2022 Wag Labs, Inc. All rights reserved.