Prevalence of pigment gallstones in sheep.

A. Cavallini, C. Messa, V. Mangini, M. Linsalata, V. Guerra, G. Misciagna, A. Di Leo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In a survey of 666 sheep at a slaughterhouse, gallstones (concretions with a diameter greater than or equal to 1 mm) were found in the gallbladder of 50 sheep (7.5%), sludge (concretions with a diameter less than 1 mm) was found in 9 sheep (1.4%), and sludge plus gallstones were found in 7 sheep (1.1%). Gallstones and sludge were associated, and were more frequent in lambs and females, compared with adults and males. Qualitative analysis of the stones revealed all to be pigment (bilirubin) stones. There was a statistically significant increase of biliary bilirubin (total and indirect quota) only in sheep with gallstones plus sludge, compared with control sheep without sludge or gallstones. Concentrations of bilirubin, cholesterol, phospholipids, total and single bile aids, and total and ionized calcium were similar in the bile of sheep with gallstones, sludge, or both and control sheep. Bacteriologic analysis of the bile in 10 sheep with gallstones and 10 controls revealed bacteria in 50% of the first group and in 75% of the second group (Escherichia coli in all sheep and Salmonella spp also in 1 sheep with gallstones). These findings confirm our earlier findings of a high prevalence of black pigment gallstones in sheep. On that basis, we suggest that gallstones are associated with high total bilirubin concentration in the bile, and deconjugating bacteria are common in the biliary tract of these animals.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2043-2045
Number of pages3
JournalAmerican Journal of Veterinary Research
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1991

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • veterinary(all)


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