Merck Manual

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Professional Version

Diseases of the Gallbladder and Extrahepatic Biliary System in Small Animals

By

Sharon A. Center

, DVM, DACVIM, Department of Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Cornell University

Medically Reviewed May 2015 | Modified Oct 2022

Jaundice is often the primary presenting sign in animals with disorders involving the gallbladder or extrahepatic biliary structures; abdominal effusion may reflect bile peritonitis. Finding a higher bilirubin concentration in an effusion relative to serum (>10-fold difference) confirms leakage of bile into the abdominal cavity and constitutes a surgical emergency.

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