Liver, Hydropic Degeneration

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  • a general histopathological finding in which cells absorb much water, indicating ischaemic or toxic injury or early autolysis
  • common and non-specific


1. anoxia

2. mild toxins

3. sustained bile stasis

4. excess glucocorticoids in the body

  • glucose is normally stored within hepatocytes as glycogen
  • excess glycogen within hepatocytes causes mild swelling and gives a focal hydropic appearance in areas of the liver
  • usually no change grossly - possible lightening of colour if pronounced and widespread

endogenous causes

  • Hyperadrenocortism (Cushing's syndrome)
    • functional pituitary or adrenocortical tumours
  • Diabetes mellitus [link to DM page]

exogenous causes

  • iatrogenic
    • most common cause in the dog
    • due to prolonged use of steroid therapy eg skin disease