Radiography: abdomen in Dogs (Canis) | Vetlexicon
canis - Articles

Radiography: abdomen

ISSN 2398-2942


Introduction

  • A large amount of information can be obtained from a plain abdominal radiograph if it is produced to a high standard and interpretation skills are high.
  • Plain abdominal radiography may need to be supplemented by contrast studies where further information is required about the gastrointestinal, urinary or reproductive tracts.
  • Ultrasonography is often a valuable supplementary procedure.
  • Image contrast must be maximized as the inherent subject contrast is low, particularly in thinner patients:
    • Relatively low kV values.
    • Use of a secondary radiation grid where the thickness exceeds about 10 cm.
    • In non-digital systems some films and screens have higher inherent contrast than others.
  • Breathing blur may occasionally be a problem, particularly when using lower output X-ray machines, but as the film is exposed on expiration, blur is less likely than in thoracic radiography. Exposure on expiration facilitates better demonstration of abdominal contents, in addition to minimizing risk of breathing movement blur.
  • Close collimation of the primary beam should be practised at all times.
  • The objective is to produce a radiograph which includes the whole area of interest, is correctly exposed and developed, and is free from movement blur and artefacts.
  • The anatomical marker must be clearly visible.
    • If manual processing is used then the patient’s identification, the date, and the name of the hospital or practice must also be visible.

Uses

Advantages

  • Non-invasive.
  • Relatively simple procedure.

Disadvantages

  • Supplementary procedures, eg ultrasonography or contrast studies are frequently required.
  • Shortcomings in technique make interpretation particularly difficult, eg low contrast image may mimic pathology.

Alternative techniques

  • Ultrasonography may be an alternative but is best used in conjunction with radiography.

Time required

Preparation

  • Dependent upon the method of chemical restraint (GA or sedation).

Procedure

  • 10-15 min or longer, dependent upon skill of radiographer.

Decision taking

Criteria for choosing test

Is the examination appropriate?
  • Can you make the diagnosis without it?
  • Can it tell you what you need to know?
  • Will your management be affected by the radiological findings?
Choosing the right projections
  • Lateral:
    • Right lateral recumbency - first standard projection. Gives information on size, shape and position of most abdominal organs.
    • The second lateral recumbency projection is of some use in plain radiography of the abdomen. It may allow gas in the stomach or intestine to rise and outline other portions of the structure, thus optimising visibility of that structure's lumen, or clarifying its position.
    The left lateral may help to separate the kidneys better.
  • Ventrodorsal:
    • Second standard projection.
    • Gives additonal information on size, shape and position of abdominal organs. Particularly useful for separating the two kidneys. Do not attempt ventrodorsal position if pleural fluid is suspected.
  • Dorsoventral:
    • Useful when ventrodorsal positioning is not possible or to cause gas to rise to a different position within a structure.

Requirements

Subscribe To View

This article is available to subscribers.

Try a free trial today or contact us for more information.

Preparation

Subscribe To View

This article is available to subscribers.

Try a free trial today or contact us for more information.

Technique

Subscribe To View

This article is available to subscribers.

Try a free trial today or contact us for more information.

Aftercare

Subscribe To View

This article is available to subscribers.

Try a free trial today or contact us for more information.

Outcomes

Subscribe To View

This article is available to subscribers.

Try a free trial today or contact us for more information.

Further Reading

Publications

Refereed papers

  • Recent references from PubMed and VetMedResource.
  • Scrivani P V, Yeager A E, Dykes N L et al (2001) Influence of patient positioning on sensitivity of mesenteric portography for detecting an anomalous portosystemic blood vessel in dogs - 34 cases (1997-2001). JAVMA 219 (9), 1251-1253 VetMedResource.