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Medical Index
First Posted: June 14, 2011
Jun 16, 2011

Cholangiohepatitis in Horses

What is Cholagiohepatitis? Simply stated cholangiohepatitis "is a severe inflammation of the bile passages and adjacent liver, which sporadically causes hepatic failure in horses and ruminants. It is occasionally associated with cholelithiasis in horses." The Merck Vet Manual

What Are Some Causes?
What Are Some Symptoms?
  • Ultrasound (liver)
  • Liver biopsy
  • Peritoneal fluid sample (peritonitis present)
  • Evaluation of visual symptoms and blood work

Depending on the histopatholigic findings, culture and sensitivity results and clinical response the treatments differ.

  • Antibiotic treatments
  • Intravenous fluid administration
  • Medical Management
  • Surgery
  • Corticosteroids
"Treatment based on culture and sensitivity results from liver tissue often gives favorable results. Therapy should be continued for 4-6 weeks or longer. Liver enzyme (GGT) levels and biopsies should be repeated to monitor response to therapy. If no organism is cultured, broad-spectrum antimicrobial therapy against gram-negative, gram-positive, and anaerobic organisms should be administered. A combination of penicillin with either a trimethoprim-sulfa or an aminoglycoside or enrofloxacin may be used. Ampicillin or a cephalosporin can be used instead of penicillin. Metronidazole can be used in horses to treat anaerobic bacteria. Prognosis is good if fibrosis is not severe." Cholangiohepatitis in Horses/Merck Vet Manual Prognosis

Prompt diagnosis and correct treatment can lead to a favorable outcome. However, if Cholagiohepatitis has progressed to chronic, active hepatitis, if there are recurrences or if fibrosis is prominent--the outcome is less favorable.

For More Information:

Cholangiohepatitis in Horses
Diagnosis of Liver Disease
The Vet Book/Cholangiohepatitis

Medical Index