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Keywords:

  • acute abdomen;
  • dog;
  • CT;
  • contrast

Contrast-enhanced multi-detector computed tomography (CE-MDCT) is used routinely in evaluating human patients with acute abdominal symptoms. Contrast-enhanced ultrasound (CEUS) continues to be in its infancy as it relates to evaluation of the acute abdomen. The purpose of this study was to compare survey radiography, B-mode ultrasound, CEUS, and CE-MDCT findings in canine patients presenting with acute abdominal signs; with a focus on the ability to differentiate surgical from non-surgical conditions. Nineteen dogs were prospectively enrolled. Inclusion required a clinical diagnosis of acute abdominal signs and confirmed surgical or non-surgical causes for the clinical signs. Agreement for the majority of recorded imaging features was at least moderate. There was poor agreement in the identification of pneumoperitoneum and in the comparison of pancreatic lesion dimensions for B-mode vs. CEUS. The CT feature of fat stranding was detected in cases including, but not limited to, gastric neoplasia with perforation, pancreatitis, and small intestinal foreign body. Ultrasound underestimated the size and number of specific lesions when compared with CE-MDCT. Contrast-enhanced ultrasound was successful in detecting bowel and pancreatic perfusion deficits that CE-MDCT failed to identify. Accuracy for differentiation of surgical vs. non-surgical conditions was high for all modalities; 100%, 94%, and 94% for CE-MDCT, ultrasonography and survey radiography respectively. Findings indicated that CE-MDCT is an accurate screening test for differentiating surgical from non-surgical acute abdominal conditions in dogs. Focused CEUS following CE-MDCT or B-mode ultrasonography may be beneficial for identifying potentially significant hypoperfused lesions.