In animals with bile stasis, nonabsorbable bile constituents (bile salts, phospholipids, glycoproteins, and cholesterol) are subject to concentration or dilution when water and inorganic electrolytes (sodium, chloride, bicarbonate) are resorbed or added by the biliary epithelium. EHBDO can produce a “white bile” syndrome reflecting the absence of bilirubin pigments. Stasis of bile flow also may cause bile dehydration, promoting a pathologically thick or sludged bile that is dark green to black. Formation of a gallbladder mucocele involves the entrapment, retention, dehydration, or local overproduction of mucin that lends a rubbery viscosity to the bile. Choleresis (enhanced bile flow) produces “watery,” dilute bile and is a therapeutic goal in disorders of bile stasis.
Last full review/revision March 2012 by Sharon A. Center, DVM, DACVIM