Researchers seek dogs with high triglycerides and/or high cholesterol

From: Small Animal Clinical Science

Researchers are looking for dogs with persistently elevated triglycerides and/or cholesterol.


When too much mucus and bile sludge build up within a dog's gall bladder, it can cause the dog to feel ill, and can even lead to an urgent critical condition. The cause of this condition, called gall bladder mucocele formation, is unknown.

One proposed cause is decreased contractions of the gall bladder because of increased lipids (cholesterol and triglycerides) in the blood. A better understanding of how increased lipid levels affect gall bladder contraction in dogs may allow us to develop new preventative and treatment strategies for it.


  • Dogs of any age, breed, or sex with elevated cholesterol or triglyceride values on more than one occasion.
  • Dogs with secondary causes of hyperlipidemia such as hypothyroidism, hyperadrenocorticism and diabetes mellitus will be accepted as long as they are otherwise healthy and not receiving any of the prohibited medications.

Exclusion criteria

  • Dogs receiving medications that could alter gallbladder motility including anticholinergics, erythromycin, loperamide, ondansetron, cisapride, cholestyramine, ursodiol, or SAM-e within 7 days prior to evaluation.
  • Dogs with diseases that could alter gallbladder motility such GB disease (e.g. mucocele, choleliths, cholecystitis), acute pancreatitis, extrahepatic biliary obstruction, portosystemic shunt, cholangiohepatitis or cancer of the hepatobiliary system.
  • Dogs that require sedation for venipuncture or ultrasound.

Study design

Enrolled dogs will have a physical examination, plasma biochemistry, and an ultrasound performed. Dogs will fast for at least 12 hours prior to collection of plasma biochemistry and the initial ultrasound. Ultrasound will be performed on dogs in the fasted state and repeated at 1 and 2 hours after eating.


Enrolled dogs will receive, at no cost, a physical exam, blood chemistry testing, and ultrasounds if the criteria of the study are met. Costs associated with any additional testing or treatment deemed necessary by the clinician are not covered by the study.


To schedule an appointment for your dog, please contact:

Dr. Jessica Villm, Internal Medicine 
Phone: 540-231-4621 | Email: