Research Updates: Dogs with gallbladder mucoceles may be prone to common endocrine diseases

Jul 01, 2010

Erika Meler, DVM, MS
Previous reports of dogs with gallbladder mucoceles have suggested an association with hypothyroidism and hyperadrenocorticism.1,2 This study's goal was to determine the frequency of diagnosis of three common endocrinopathies in dogs with gallbladder mucoceles and, thus, the relative increase in risk of gallbladder mucocele development in dogs with hypothyroidism, hyperadrenocorticism, or diabetes mellitus.

Barrak Pressler, DVM, PhD, DACVIM
Seventy-eight dogs with gallbladder mucoceles were retrospectively age- and breed-matched to 156 control dogs with normal gallbladders as determined by abdominal ultrasonography examination or exploratory laparotomy (two normal dogs for each dog with a gallbladder mucocele). Records were reviewed to determine whether the dogs had also had a diagnosis of an endocrinopathy before or up to six months after the identification of a gallbladder mucocele.

The percentage of dogs with hypothyroidism, hyperadrenocorticism, or diabetes mellitus in the gallbladder mucocele group were 14%, 21%, and 3%, respectively, vs. 5%, 2%, and 2%, respectively, in the control group. Dogs with hypothyroidism were three times more likely to have a gallbladder mucocele than euthyroid dogs were, and dogs with hyperadrenocorticism were 29 times more likely to have gallbladder mucoceles than were dogs without hyperadrenocorticism. Diabetes mellitus did not increase the likelihood of diagnosis of a gallbladder mucocele. However, because the number of dogs tested for hypothyroidism was significantly greater in the gallbladder mucocele group than in the control group, the difference in disease prevalence of this endocrinopathy may be due to a decreased likelihood of detection in dogs with normal gallbladders rather than a true association between these diseases.