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Investigating whether fasting dogs before ultrasonography improves image quality

D. A. A. Garcia, T. R. Froes

MANY veterinary clinics instruct owners to fast dogs for six to 12 hours before undertaking ultrasound examination. Proponents of this approach suggest that fasting creates optimum conditions for ultrasound by reducing the amount of gas in the gastrointestinal tract thereby improving image quality. This study aimed to investigate the influence of fasting on image quality and organ visibility in canine ultrasound examinations.

Abdominal ultrasonography was performed on 150 client-owned dogs presented to two veterinary hospitals in Brazil for a range of reasons. Dogs were randomly assigned to two groups – 75 dogs were fasted for eight to 12 hours before ultrasonography, while the remaining 75 were not fasted and were fed any time between two hours and 10 minutes before ultrasonography. The organs examined were the gallbladder, the portal vein at the hilus of the liver, the duodenum, the pancreas and the adrenal glands. The ultrasonographers who performed the examination did not know which groups the dogs had been assigned to and were asked to rate the quality of the images they obtained. If reduced image quality was observed, they were asked to state what they believed to be the reasons for this.

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