Ultrasound of the Gastrointestinal Tract

Martha Moon Larson, DVM, MS,
David S. Biller, DV

Vet Clin Small Anim 39 (2009) 747–759

Familiarity with the normal and abnormal ultrasound appearance of the canine and feline gastrointestinal (GI) tract provides a marked advantage in the diagnosis of GI disease. Although gas may inhibit complete visualization, in many cases, ultrasound is able to confirm or rule out suspected disease. It should be noted that ultrasound of the GI tract does not preclude the need for abdominal radiographs. The two imaging modalities are complementary, and each adds individual information. Ultrasound evaluation of the GI tract provides information about bowel wall thickness and layers, assessment of motility, and visualization of important adjacent structures such as lymph nodes and peritoneum. In the hands of experienced sonographers, abdominal ultrasound has replaced the need for GI contrast studies in many cases, saving time, money, radiation exposure, and stress to the patient.

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