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Vet Pathol. 2013 Nov;50(6):1109-15. doi: 10.1177/0300985813481609. Epub 2013 Mar 25.

Evaluation of hepatic steatosis in dogs with congenital portosystemic shunts using Oil Red O staining.

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Department of Veterinary Surgical and Radiological Sciences, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California, Davis, CA 95616, USA. Email:


The aims of this prospective study were to quantify steatosis in dogs with congenital portosystemic shunts (CPS) using a fat-specific stain, to compare the amount of steatosis in different lobes of the liver, and to evaluate intra- and interobserver variability in lipid point counting. Computer-assisted point counting of lipid droplets was undertaken following Oil Red O staining in 21 dogs with congenital portosystemic shunts and 9 control dogs. Dogs with congenital portosystemic shunts had significantly more small lipid droplets (<6 μ) than control dogs (P = .0013 and .0002, respectively). There was no significant difference in steatosis between liver lobes for either control dogs and CPS dogs. Significant differences were seen between observers for the number of large lipid droplets (>9 μ) and lipogranulomas per tissue point (P = .023 and .01, respectively). In conclusion, computer-assisted counting of lipid droplets following Oil Red O staining of liver biopsy samples allows objective measurement and detection of significant differences between dogs with CPS and normal dogs. This method will allow future evaluation of the relationship between different presentations of CPS (anatomy, age, breed) and lipidosis, as well as the impact of hepatic lipidosis on outcomes following surgical shunt attenuation.


congenital portosystemic shunt; dog; liver; steatosis

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