Cholangiohepatitis in Dairy Cattle: 13 Cases.

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The signalment, clinicopathologic, bacteriological, histopathological, ultrasonographic characteristics, and the treatment and outcomes of adult cattle with cholangiohepatitis are poorly defined.


Thirteen Holstein cows with cholangiohepatitis.


Retrospective study of medical records of cattle admitted to the CHUV and the AVC between 1992 and 2012 and 2000 and 2012, respectively, for cattle older than 3 months of age with a histopathological diagnosis of cholangiohepatitis. Cholangiohepatitis was defined as the presence of portal inflammation surrounding or infiltrating bile ducts, with or without epithelial damage, and extending into the adjacent lobules.


At the time of diagnosis of cholangiohepatitis, cows had decreased appetite (n = 7) or were anorectic (n = 6), had fever (n = 5), and had tachycardia (n = 8). Icterus was detected in 5 cows. Yellow discoloration was identified on the skin of the udder (n = 3), conjunctiva (n = 2), and vulva (n = 1). There was leukocytosis (n = 6), neutrophilia (n = 9), and hyperfibrinogenemia (n = 8). Alteration in the serum biochemistry profile included hyperglobulinemia (n = 8), hypoalbuminemia (n = 10), increased activity of GGT (n = 12), AST (n = 8), and ALP (n = 10), and hyperbilirubinemia (n = 10). Histopathological diagnosis included mild, subacute, nonsuppurative cholangiohepatitis (n = 4), mild suppurative cholangiohepatitis (n = 4), mild mixed (neutrophilic and lymphocytic) cholangiohepatitis (n = 3), and moderate, chronic, nonsuppurative cholangiohepatitis (n = 1). Six cows were discharged from the hospital, and 7 were euthanized.


Cholangiohepatitis is a rare condition in adult cattle. Antemortem diagnosis can be challenging because clinical signs are unspecific.

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