Treatment of extrahepatic congenital portosystemic shunts in dogs - what is the evidence base?

M. S. Tivers*, M. M. Upjohn, Arthur K. House, D. J. Brockman, V. J. Lipscomb

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)


A variety of surgical treatments and medical therapies are recommended for dogs with extrahepatic congenital portosystemic shunts (CPSS). The objective of this review was to assess the evidence base for the management of extrahepatic CPSS in dogs. An online bibliographic search was performed in November 2010 to identify articles relating to the question "Which of the treatment options for extrahepatic CPSS in dogs offers the best short- and long-term outcomes?" Articles were assigned a level of evidence based on a modified grading system. Thirty-eight articles were included in the review. Thirty-six articles were classified as grade 4 and two as grade 5. The timings and methods of assessment of short- and long-term outcomes varied widely between studies. One prospective study (grade 4a) showed that surgically treated dogs survived significantly longer than medically treated dogs. Four retrospective studies (grade 4b) compared the outcome of two surgical techniques but there were no statistically significant differences between treatment groups in terms of complications or outcome. The review found that the evidence base for the treatment of extrahepatic CPSS is weak. There is a lack of evidence of short- and long-term outcomes to recommend one treatment over another.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3-11
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Small Animal Practice
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2012


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