Evaluation of normal findings using a detailed and focused technique for transcutaneous abdominal ultrasonography in the horse

Williams, Sarah and Cooper, Jonathan David and Freeman, S.L. (2014) Evaluation of normal findings using a detailed and focused technique for transcutaneous abdominal ultrasonography in the horse. BMC Veterinary Research, 10 (Suppl). S5. ISSN 1746-6148

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Ultrasonography is an important diagnostic tool in the investigation of abdominal disease in the horse. Several factors may affect the ability to image different structures within the abdomen. The aim of the study was to describe the repeatability of identification of abdominal structures in normal horses using a detailed ultrasonographic examination technique and using a focused, limited preparation technique.


A detailed abdominal ultrasound examination was performed in five normal horses, repeated on five occasions (total of 25 examinations). The abdomen was divided into ten different imaging sites, and structures identified in each site were recorded. Five imaging sites were then selected for a single focused ultrasound examination in 20 normal horses. Limited patient preparation was performed. Structures were recorded as ‘identified’ if ultrasonographic features could be distinguished. The location of organs and their frequency of identification were recorded. Data from both phases were analysed to determine repeatability of identification of structures in each examination (irrespective of imaging site), and for each imaging site.


Caecum, colon, spleen, liver and right kidney were repeatably identified using the detailed technique, and had defined locations. Large colon and right kidney were identified in 100% of examinations with both techniques. Liver, spleen, caecum, duodenum and other small intestine were identified more frequently with the detailed examination. Small intestine was most frequently identified in the ventral abdomen, its identification varied markedly within and between horses, and required repeated examinations in some horses. Left kidney could not be identified in every horse using either technique. Sacculated colon was identified in all ventral sites, and was infrequently identified in dorsal sites.


Caecum, sacculated large intestine, spleen, liver and right kidney were consistently identified with both techniques. There were some normal variations which should be considered when interpreting ultrasonographic findings in clinical cases: left kidney was not always identified, sacculated colon was occasionally identified in dorsal flank sites. Multiple imaging sites and repeated examinations may be required to identify small intestine. A focused examination identified most key structures, but has some limitations compared to a detailed examination.

Item Type: Article
RIS ID: https://nottingham-repository.worktribe.com/output/732911
Schools/Departments: University of Nottingham, UK > Faculty of Science > School of Biosciences > Division of Animal Sciences
Identification Number: https://doi.org/10.1186/1746-6148-10-S1-S5
Depositing User: Eprints, Support
Date Deposited: 10 Feb 2017 14:00
Last Modified: 04 May 2020 16:51
URI: https://eprints.nottingham.ac.uk/id/eprint/40533

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