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Keywords:

  • abdomen;
  • CT;
  • dogs;
  • lymph node

Though identification of lymph nodes is essential in staging cancer patients, little has been reported about the CT features of canine abdominal lymph nodes. The purpose of this retrospective study was to describe the visibility, location, and characteristics of abdominal lymph nodes in abdominal CT studies of dogs considered unlikely to have lymphadenopathy. The relationship between the number of identified lymph nodes and intraabdominal fat ranking, body weight, and slice thickness was also investigated. A total of 19 dogs were included. At least two jejunal lymph nodes and both left and right medial iliac lymph nodes were identified in all dogs. Colic lymph nodes were not identified in any of the dogs. Visualization of all other lymph nodes varied. There were significantly more lymph nodes visible in dogs with more intraabdominal fat (P < 0.0001). No correlation between the number of identified lymph nodes and body weight (P = 0.64) or slice thickness (P = 0.76) was found. Though most of all identified lymph nodes had an elongated shape, a rounded shape was most common in splenic, pancreaticoduodenal, renal, ileocolic and caudal mesenteric lymph nodes. Most lymph nodes had a homogeneous structure before and following the intravenous administration of contrast medium. Some lymph nodes had a slightly irregular structure or were relatively more hyper attenuating in the periphery than centrally before and/or after contrast administration. Mean attenuation before contrast was 37 Hounsfield Units (HU) (range 20–52 HU), and 109 HU after contrast (range 36–223 HU). Findings indicated that the CT visibility, characteristics of different abdominal lymph nodes may be variable in dogs.