Dogs with biliary rupture based on ultrasound findings may have normal total serum bilirubin values.

Document Type


Publication Date



The absence of hyperbilirubinemia can lead to decreased suspicion of biliary rupture in dogs. This delay of suspicion and treatment can result in increased mortality rates. The objective of this retrospective, observational study was to describe ultrasound and serum bilirubin findings in a group of dogs with an ultrasonographic diagnosis of suspected biliary rupture. The records of a single institution were searched over the period of 2007-2019 for cases having ultrasound reports describing suspicion of biliary rupture. Clinical findings for each of the cases were recorded. A total of 35 dogs met inclusion criteria and, of these, 30 dogs had confirmed ruptured biliary tracts. It was found that 40% (12/30) of dogs with confirmed ruptured biliary tracts had a serum bilirubin values within the normal reference range. No statistical difference was found in serum bilirubin values between the ruptured and nonruptured biliary tracts. Leukocytosis and neutrophilia were found to be statistically significant between ruptured and nonruptured biliary tracts. Mucinous material, similar to "white bile" found in human literature, was found within the peritoneal effusion of six dogs with biliary rupture, three of which also lacked bile pigment. Findings from this study indicated that normobilirubinemia may be present in some dogs with biliary rupture, and therefore should not be used as a reason for excluding this differential diagnosis.

Publication Source (Journal or Book title)

Veterinary radiology & ultrasound : the official journal of the American College of Veterinary Radiology and the International Veterinary Radiology Association

This document is currently not available here.