• diaphragmatic paralysis;
  • dog;
  • M-mode ultrasonography

Diagnosis of unilateral diaphragmatic paralysis in dogs is currently based on fluoroscopic detection of unequal movement between the crura. Bilateral paralysis may be more difficult to confirm with fluoroscopy because diaphragmatic movement is sometimes produced by compensatory abdominal muscle contractions. The purpose of this study was to develop a new method to evaluate diaphragmatic movement using M-mode ultrasonography and to describe findings for normal and diaphragmatic paralyzed dogs. Fifty-five clinically normal dogs and two dogs with diaphragmatic paralysis were recruited. Thoracic radiographs were acquired for all dogs and fluoroscopy studies were also acquired for clinically affected dogs. Two observers independently measured diaphragmatic direction of motion and amplitude of excursion using M-mode ultrasonography for dogs meeting study inclusion criteria. Eight of the clinically normal dogs were excluded due to abnormal thoracic radiographic findings. For the remaining normal dogs, the lower limit values of diaphragmatic excursion were 2.85–2.98 mm during normal breathing. One dog with bilateral diaphragmatic paralysis showed paradoxical movement of both crura at the end of inspiration. One dog with unilateral diaphragmatic paralysis had diaphragmatic excursion values of 2.00 ± 0.42 mm on the left side and 4.05 ± 1.48 mm on the right side. The difference between left and right diaphragmatic excursion values was 55%. Findings indicated that M-mode ultrasonography is a relatively simple and objective method for measuring diaphragmatic movement in dogs. Future studies are needed in a larger number of dogs with diaphragmatic paralysis to determine the diagnostic sensitivity of this promising new technique.