Nonsurgical resolution of gallbladder mucocele in two dogs

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Walter R, Dunn ME, d’Anjou MA, et al.

 J Am Vet Med Assoc 2008;232:1688-1693.

CASE DESCRIPTION: A gallbladder mucocele was diagnosed in 2 dogs. In both dogs, the mucocele resolved with medical treatment but without the need for surgical intervention. CLINICAL FINDINGS: A 12-year-old spayed female Miniature Schnauzer had a history of signs of gastrointestinal tract disease and high serum liver enzyme activities. Gallbladder mucocele and hypothyroidism were diagnosed. A 6-year-old neutered mixed-breed dog had chronic intermittent diarrhea and recurrent otitis; gallbladder mucocele and hypothyroidism were diagnosed. TREATMENT AND OUTCOME: The first dog was treated with S-adenosyl-methionine, omega-3 fatty acids, famotidine, ursodiol, and levothyroxine. Substantial improvement in the gastrointestinal tract condition and complete resolution of the gallbladder mucocele within 3 months were evident, but the dog was not available for further follow-up monitoring. The second dog was treated with fenbendazole, ursodiol, and levothyroxine and fed a hypoallergenic diet. One month after evaluation, abdominal ultrasonography revealed that the gallbladder mucocele was resolving, and treatment was continued. Ultrasonographic evaluation 2 and 4 months later revealed complete resolution of the mucocele. CLINICAL RELEVANCE: Review of the clinical course of 2 dogs in which there was nonsurgical resolution of gallbladder mucocele revealed that surgery is not necessary in all dogs with gallbladder mucocele. Hypothyroidism may have resulted in delayed gallbladder emptying, and its role in the pathogenesis of gallbladder mucocele merits investigation. Despite this information, until further prospective trials with a control group and standardized treatments and follow-up monitoring can be performed, the authors recommend surgical intervention for treatment of dogs with gallbladder mucocele.