• equine;
  • kidney;
  • repeatability and reproducibility;
  • ultrasound

The aims of this study were to establish a normal reference range (mean ± 2 SD) and assess reliability of renal dimensions obtained using transabdominal ultrasonography in Thoroughbred horses (n = 7). A minimum of three ultrasonographic cineloops were obtained from each intercostal space and the left paralumbar fossa by two observers daily for three consecutive days. Renal length, width, and thickness and cortex, medulla, and pelvic dimensions were obtained. Measurements were undertaken by both observers, who were unaware of prior measurements, to assess reproducibility and measured on three separate occasions to evaluate short-term measurement repeatability. Measurements from images obtained by both operators were compared to evaluate image repeatability. The left kidney was consistently identified in the left 15th–17th intercostal space and the paralumbar fossa with maximal length in the 16th intercostal space (12.7 ± 2.0 cm) and maximal width in the paralumbar fossa (7.9 ± 1.1 cm). The right kidney was consistently identified in the right 15th–17th intercostal space with maximal length and maximal width in the 15th intercostal space (16.0 ± 0.7 cm and 7.9 ± 1.0 cm). Reproducibility, image repeatability, measurement repeatability were good to excellent, although were less good for the smaller structures. There were no differences in renal dimensions between horses. Overall renal ultrasonography was reliable and a normal reference range for Thoroughbred horses was established. Renal dimensions vary between rib spaces. As repeatability and reproducibility were excellent for renal length and width, it may be prudent to use those measurements in rib spaces where parameters were maximal.