Merck Manual

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Diseases of the Gallbladder and Extrahepatic Biliary System in Small Animals

By

Sharon A. Center

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

Last full review/revision May 2015 | Content last modified May 2015

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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