The gallbladder rests in the abdomen where it’s attached to the liver and pancreas. It’s a small, pear-shaped organ that stores bile, a liquid secreted through the liver and discharged into the small intestine to help eliminate waste from the body and facilitate digestion and the absorption of fats.
Diseases of the gallbladder are not common in dogs but when they do occur they generally affect middle-aged and older dogs. Gallbladder disorders are generally divided into three categories: obstructive disease, non-obstructive disease, and rupture of the gallbladder. Tumors may also affect the gallbladder.
Inflammation of the gallbladder (cholecysstitis) is usually caused by a bacterial infection that starts in the intestine and travels up the bile duct or spreads through the blood. Inflammation can also spread to the surrounding branches of the bile duct and the liver. If the gallbladder walls become damaged then bile can leak into to the abdomen and cause infection and inflammation that can sometimes be fatal.
Obstructive disease or obstruction of the bile duct occurs when an abnormal pancreas compresses the bile ducts that lead from the liver to the gallbladder. Compression of the bile duct can be attributed to pancreatic swelling, fibrosis, inflammation, or the presence of gallstones, which is rare.
Non-obstructive disease usually occurs as the result of a bacterial infection. If the gallbladder ruptures, it is usually caused by blunt trauma, gallstones, or inflammation of the gallbladder.
- abdominal discomfort
If you suspect a gallbladder disorder in your dog, a vet examination would help determine the problem. Herbs such as Milk Thistle are effective in supporting the liver and gallbladder.