UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine
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Patients Needed for Study on Intrahepatic Portosystemic Shunt

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A stent has been placed in the caudal vena cava, and coils can be seen in the shunt resulting in attenuated blood flow. Once the shunt is “blocked,” blood can flow through the liver. This procedure was performed via the jugular vein.

February 17, 2012 (This study, originally publicized in December 2011, is still seeking patients.)

Intrahepatic portosystemic shunts (IHPSS), or liver shunts, are anomalous vascular communications that result in severe clinical signs, and eventual death secondary to the sequelae of hepatic dysfunction is almost certain. In animals with this condition, the normal blood supply to the liver is shunted elsewhere, liver function deteriorates and toxins build up in the blood system.

Occlusion (blocking) of the shunt is considered to be the treatment of choice. Historically, surgical options for shunt occlusion have been pursued, but the morbidity and mortality rates associated with surgical correction have been unfortunately high. A more recently described technique (transvenous coil embolization) involving the delivery of thrombogenic coils into the shunt in a minimally invasive manner has developed.

The primary goal of this study is to report the outcome in a series of dogs that have undergone percutaneous transvenous coil embolization (PTCE) to treat IHPSS.                         

Enrollment Requirements

  • Canine patients diagnosed with an intrahepatic portosystemic shunt.
  • Patients must be able to be returned to UC Davis 3 months post-PTCE for diagnostics.

Information for Referring Veterinarians

If the dog is deemed a candidate for enrollment and the client consents, bloodwork, nuclear scintigraphy, abdominal ultrasound and a CT scan will be performed (some of these diagnostics will be paid for by the study). At three months post-PTCE, these diagnostics will be repeated and funded by the study.

Thank you for your interest in improving the quality of life for our canine patients.

About the Investigator

William T. N. Culp, VMD, DACVS, graduated from the University of Pennsylvania, School of Veterinary Medicine in 2004 . After graduation, he remained at the university to complete an internship in small animal medicine and surgery followed by a surgical residency. Dr. Culp is board-certified as a diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Surgeons, and he has pursued additional training in cancer surgery at the Colorado State University Animal Cancer Center, during which he completed a surgical oncology fellowship.

Dr. Culp is a member of the Small Animal Surgery Service (soft tissue) at the William R. Pritchard Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital. He is interested in many areas of soft tissue surgery, but his major focuses are surgical oncology and interventional radiology. Surgical oncology focuses on utilizing advanced surgical techniques to treat cancer in veterinary patients. Interventional radiology is a newly developing field in veterinary medicine that utilizes diagnostic imaging (mostly fluoroscopy) to treat disease processes in veterinary patients in a minimally invasive manner. Interventional radiology allows for treatment options in cases that previously may have been considered untreatable. These two specialties will allow for advanced, minimally invasive treatments in veterinary cancer and non-cancer patients. Diseases of particular interest to Dr. Culp include malignant obstructions (cancer resulting in blockage of the urethra, trachea, esophagus and colon), non-resectable tumors (tumors that cannot be removed with traditional surgical techniques), tumors that can be treated with direct delivery of chemotherapy to their blood vessels, vascular abnormalities (portosystemic shunts, arteriovenous malformations) and tumors causing blockage of the ureter.


For any questions or for more information on this study, please contact Dr. William Culp, Small Animal Surgery Service (Soft Tissue), William R. Pritchard Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital, (530) 752-1393, wculp@ucdavis.edu.