• contrast-enhanced ultrasonography;
  • dog;
  • insulinoma

Abdominal ultrasonography is one of the most common diagnostic imaging modalities used for dogs with suspected insulinoma; however, pancreatic masses are clearly identified in fewer than half of affected dogs and benign pancreatic nodules can be difficult to differentiate from malignant ones. The purpose of this prospective study was to describe contrast-enhanced ultrasonography (CEUS) characteristics of confirmed pancreatic insulinoma in a group of dogs. Inclusion criteria were as follows: (1) repeated hypoglycemia (blood glucose levels <60 mg/dl, twice or more); (2) elevated blood insulin levels with hypoglycemia; (3) pancreatic nodules detected with conventional ultrasonography; and (4) histological confirmation of pancreatic islet cell carcinoma. Immediately following conventional ultrasonography of the entire abdomen, CEUS of the pancreatic nodule and adjacent parenchyma was performed using contrast-specific technology pulse inversion imaging and perflubutane microbubble contrast agent. Three dogs met inclusion criteria. Pancreatic nodules in all the three dogs became more clearly demarcated after injection of the contrast agent. Each nodule showed different enhancement patterns: markedly hyperechoic for 5 s, slightly hyperechoic for 1 s, and clearly hypoechoic for over 30 s. These results were not in complete agreement with previously reported CEUS findings in human patients with insulinoma. All nodules were surgically resected and histopathologically confirmed as malignant insulinomas. Findings from the current study indicated that contrast-enhanced ultrasound may help to increase conspicuity of pancreatic insulinomas in dogs and that enhancement characteristics may be more variable in dogs than in humans.