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Use of percutaneous transvenous coil embolization in the treatment of intrahepatic portosystemic shunts in four cats.


Case description

4 cats (6 to 9 months old) were evaluated because of clinical signs consistent with a portosystemic shunt (PSS).

Clinical findings

Among the 4 cats, 3 had neurologic abnormalities including ataxia, head pressing, disorientation, and obtundation. One cat was evaluated because of urethral obstruction; a retrieved urethral stone was determined to have urate composition. Clinicopathologic findings (hypoproteinemia, low BUN concentration, and high serum bile acids concentration) were consistent with a PSS in all cats. A diagnosis of intrahepatic PSS (IHPSS) was made for all cats on the basis of ultrasonographic and CT findings.

Treatment and outcome

All cats underwent percutaneous transvenous coil embolization (PTCE). No major intraprocedural complications were encountered, and all cats were discharged from the hospital. For the 3 cats that were presented with neurologic signs, an evaluation performed at 12, 14, or 48 months after the procedure revealed resolution of the neurologic signs, and owners reported that the behavior of each cat appeared normal. One cat that initially had neurologic and gastrointestinal signs had lower urinary tract signs after PTCE and developed an acquired extrahepatic PSS.

Clinical relevance

Although IHPSSs in cats are uncommon, the outcomes of PTCE for the 4 cats of the present report suggested that this treatment may benefit cats with an IHPSS. No short-term complications were encountered, and all cats had improvement in clinical signs following PTCE, although an acquired extrahepatic PSS was later identified in 1 cat. Further investigation of the use of endovascular techniques for the treatment of IHPSSs in cats and other species is warranted.

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