• Open Access

Contrast-Enhanced Power and Color Doppler Ultrasonography of the Pancreas in Healthy and Diseased Cats


  • N. Rademacher's current address is: Louisiana State University, School of Veterinary Medicine, Section of Radiology, Baton Rouge, LA.

  • B. Kaser-Hotz's current address is: Animal Oncology and Imaging Center, Zug, Switzerland. Abstract presented at 2004 European College of Veterinary Diagnostic Imaging Annual Scientific Conference (preliminary data), September 8, Ghent, Belgium and at 2005 American College of Veterinary Radiology Annual Scientific Conference, November 30, Chicago, IL.

Corresponding author: Dr Nathalie Rademacher, School of Veterinary Medicine, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA 70803, USA; e-mail: nrademacher@vetmed.lsu.edu.


Background: The diagnosis of feline pancreatic disease is difficult, because clinical abnormalities and routine noninvasive diagnostic tests are unreliable.

Objective: The purpose of this study was to investigate by Doppler ultrasonography if vascularity and blood volume differs in the otherwise ultrasonographically normal and diseased feline pancreas.

Animals: Thirty-six client owned cats.

Methods: The pancreas was examined with B-mode and contrast-enhanced color and power Doppler ultrasonography. Doppler images were analyzed with a computer program: parameter fractional area represents a vascularity index and color-weighted fractional area assesses blood volume.

Results: Based on the B-mode findings, the pancreas was considered normal in 11 clinically healthy cats and diseased in 25 cats of which 4 were clinically healthy and 21 had clinical signs consistent with pancreatic disease. Histologic or cytologic samples were taken in all diseased pancreata. Fifteen samples were of diagnostic quality: purulent or mixed cellular inflammation (8), nodular hyperplasia (4), and neoplasia (3) were identified. Vascularity and blood volume for all Doppler methods was significantly higher in cats with pancreatic disease. Significantly higher Doppler values were detected with power Doppler than with color Doppler, and with postcontrast color and power Doppler than with precontrast Doppler technologies.

Conclusion: Contrast-enhanced Doppler ultrasonography appears feasible in the feline pancreas. Significant differences were found between normal cats and those with evidence of pancreatic pathology. Further studies are needed to evaluate its use for the differentiation of pancreatic disorders and in cats suspected to have pancreatic disease but without B-mode ultrasonographic changes of the pancreas.