Evaluation of Gallbladder Motility in Dogs with Hyperlipidemia

Breed(s): Shetland Sheepdog, Miniature Schnauzer, -All Dogs
Sample Type: Blood Sample
Study Location: VA-MD College of Veterinary Medicine
CHF-funded Grant: 02644

Purpose: To determine if increased lipid levels in dogs reduces gallbladder contractions which could ultimately increase the risk of developing a serious condition called gallbladder mucoceles.

Gallbladder (GB) mucoceles are an emerging disease in dogs. A GB mucocele is a buildup of too much mucus and bile sludge within the GB which can cause distension of the GB and affect bile flow. This can cause dogs to feel ill, and can lead to an urgent critical condition. The cause of GB mucocele formation is unknown. One proposed cause is decreased contractions of the GB secondary to increased lipids (cholesterol and triglycerides) in the blood. Several breeds, such as Shetland Sheepdogs and Miniature Schnauzers, have a much higher likelihood of developing the increased lipid levels as well as GB mucocele formation. A better understanding of how GB contraction is affected in dogs with increased lipid levels will allow us to better understand GB mucocele formation and possibly develop new preventative and treatment strategies for this disease.

Participation Requirements:

Inclusion criteria:

  • Fasted cholesterol or triglyceride concentrations above the reference range on at least two occasions. 
  • Primary or secondary causes of hyperlipidemia (hypothyroidism, hyperadrenocorticism, and diabetes mellitus) will be included. 

Exclusion criteria:

  • Drugs within 7 days of evaluations: anticholinergics, erythromycin, loperamide, ondansetron, cisapride, cholestyramine, ursodiol or SAM-e
  • Co-morbidities that affect gallbladder motility such as gallbladder mucoceles, acute pancreatitis, cholecystitis or extrahepatic biliary obstruction

Owner's Responsibilities (Samples and information to be collected)

Enrolled dogs will undergo a physical examination, blood draw for biochemistry and a hepatobiliary ultrasound.  They need to be fasted at least 12 hours prior to blood collection and ultrasound.  Dogs requiring sedation will be excluded.

Read more about AKC CHF Grant #2644-A here!

For related study participation documents and information, please access the link below.

More Information


Contact Information:

Contact: Dr. Vilm

Email: jvillm@vt.edu

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