Helical computed tomographic portography in ten normal dogs and ten dogs with a portosystemic shunt

Frank P, Mahaffey M, Egger C, et al.

Vet Radiol Ultrasound 2003;44:392-400.

Contrast enhanced helical computed tomography (CT) of the liver and portal system is routinely performed in human patients. The purpose of this project is to develop a practical protocol for helical CT portography in the dog. Ten clinically normal dogs were initially evaluated to develop a protocol. Using this protocol, ten dogs with confirmed portosystemic shunts (PSS) were then evaluated. Each patient was anesthetized, and a test dose of sodium iothalamate (400 mg I/ml) at 0.55 ml/kg was injected. Serial images were acquired at the level of T12-13 or T13-L1. The time to maximum enhancement of the portal vein was determined. This time period was used as the period between the second injection (2.2 ml/kg) and the start of the helical examination of the cranial abdomen. Delay times for normal dogs ranged from 34.5 s-66.0 s (median: 43.5 s) or 1.41 s/kg-4.12 s/kg (median: 2.09 s/kg). For patients with a PSS, the delay times were 16.5-70.5 s (median: 34.5 s) or 1.47-19.17 s/kg (median: 3.39 s/kg). The aorta, caudal vena cava, portal vein, shunt vessels, and their respective branches were well visualized on the CT images. Clinical case results were surgically confirmed. The surgeons reported that the information gained from the CT portography resulted in a subjective decrease in surgical time and degree of dissection necessary compared with similar surgeries performed without angiographic information. We believe that helical CT portography in the dog will be a useful adjunct in the diagnosis of PSS. The use of helical CT portography may allow clinicians to give clients a more accurate prognosis prior to surgery and will allow patients with lesions that are not surgically correctable to avoid a costly and invasive procedure.