Caroli disease

From Dog

Cartoli disease is a congenital liver disease characterized by congenital dilatation of the intra- and extrahepatic bile ducts and diffuse polycystic kidney disease[1].

This condition appears similar macroscopically to congenital hepatic fibrosis but diffuse fibrosis is absent.

Affected dogs are often under 1 year of age and present with vomiting, polyuria, polydipsia, anorexia and ascites.

Blood analysis reveals variable increases in plasma alkaline phosphatase activity and fasting bile acids, with increased alanine aminotransferase activity and urea and creatinine.

Ultrasonography may show engorged and distended bile ducts without evidence of obstruction, as well as varying degrees of calcification. The kidneys often concurrently show marked cortical and medullary fibrosis with a diffuse radial cystic pattern.

Definitive diagnosis is established histologically.

There is no specific treatment for this condition, but some dogs may respond to conservative therapy and a protein-restricted diet.


  1. Görlinger S et al (2003) Congenital dilatation of the bile ducts (Caroli's disease) in young dogs. J Vet Intern Med 17(1):28-32