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Efficacy of orally administered sodium benzoate and sodium phenylbutyrate in dogs with congenital portosystemic shunts

van Straten, Giora, van Dalen, Diewke, Mesu, Sietske J., Rothuizen, Jan, Teske, Erik, Spee, Bart, Favier, Robert P., van Geijlswijk, Ingeborg M.
Journal of veterinary internal medicine 2019 v.33 no.3 pp. 1331-1335
adverse effects, ammonia, anorexia, antibiotics, bile acids, blood, congenital abnormalities, cross-over studies, diet, disaccharides, dogs, encephalopathy, enzyme deficiencies, excretion, humans, nitrogen, placebos, questionnaires, sodium, sodium benzoate, urea cycle enzymes, vomiting
BACKGROUND: Hyperammonemia can result in hepatic encephalopathy, which in severe cases eventually can lead to coma and death. In dogs, congenital portosystemic shunts (CPSS) are the most common cause for hyperammonemia. Conservative treatment consists of a protein modified diet, nonabsorbable disaccharides, antibiotics, or some combinations of these. Sodium benzoate (SB) and sodium phenylbutyrate (SPB) both are used in the acute and long‐term treatment of humans with hyperammonemia caused by urea cycle enzyme deficiencies. Both treatments are believed to lower blood ammonia concentrations by promoting excretion of excess nitrogen via alternative pathways. OBJECTIVES: To evaluate the efficacy and safety of PO treatment with SB and SPB on hyperammonemia and clinical signs in CPSS dogs. METHODS: Randomized, double‐blind, placebo‐controlled crossover trial. Concentrations of blood ammonia and bile acids were measured in CPSS dogs before and after a 5‐day treatment with SB, SPB, and placebo. A wash‐out period of 3 days was used between treatments. A standard questionnaire was developed and distributed to owners to evaluate clinical signs before and after each treatment. RESULTS: Blood ammonia concentrations were not influenced by any of the treatments and were comparable to those observed during placebo treatment. In addition, SB and SPB treatment did not result in improvement of clinical signs. Adverse effects during treatment included anorexia, vomiting, and lethargy. CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL IMPORTANCE: Based on our results, we conclude that SB or SPB are not useful in the conservative treatment of hyperammonemia in dogs with CPSS.