Equis ISSN 2398-2977

Liver: biopsy

Contributor(s): Prof Gary M Baxter, Debbie Deem Morris, Imogen Johns, Graham Munroe, Prof Susan Rhind

Introduction

  • Liver disease is uncommon in the horse.
  • Liver failure is even rarer because of the large reserve capacity and regeneration potential of the liver.
  • Provisional diagnosis is often possible on the basis of history, physical examination and laboratory findings.
  • Ultrasound examination and liver biopsy can help to provide a definitive diagnosis and prognosis.

Uses

  • Definitive diagnosis and prognosis of liver disease   Liver disease: overview  , eg hepatocyte loss, fibrosis, altered architecture and potential for regeneration and repair.

Advantages

  • Simple technique.
  • Can be done in the standing sedated animal.
  • Good correlation of results in diffuse hepatic disease (most common).
  • Minimal complications.

Disadvantages

  • May miss focal diseases; ultrasound guidance may help guide biopsy in these.
  • Small histopathologic sample if needle biopsy used.
  • Assessment of clotting potential of blood before undertaking biopsy may be prudent in some cases.

Requirements

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Preparation

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Procedure

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Aftercare

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Outcomes

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Prognosis

Further Reading

Publications

Refereed papers

  • Recent references from PubMed and VetMedResource.
  • Rendle D (2010) Liver biopsy in horses. In Pract 32 (7), 300-305 VetMedResource
  • Johns I C & Sweeney R W (2008) Coagulation abnormalities and complications after percutaneous liver biopsy in horses. J Vet Intern Med 22 (1), 185-189 PubMed.
  • Durham A E, Smith K C et al (2003) Develpment and application of a scoring system for prognostic evaluation of equine liver biopsies. Equine Vet J 35 (6), 534-540 PubMed.
  • Durham A E, Smith K C & Newton J R (2003) An evaluation of diagnostic data in comparison to the results of liver biopsies in mature horses. Equine Vet J 35 (6), 554-559 PubMed.


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