Ultrasonography of the normal feline pancreas and associated anatomic landmarks: a prospective study of 20 cats

Vet Radiol Ultrasound. 2001 Jul-Aug;42(4):330-6. doi: 10.1111/j.1740-8261.2001.tb00948.x.


The sonographic appearance of the feline pancreas and associated anatomic landmarks including the pancreatic duct, duodenum, duodenal papilla, portal vein, and gastric lymph node were evaluated in 20 healthy, awake cats. The pancreas appeared nearly isoechoic to surrounding mesenteric tissues, isoechoic to slightly hyperechoic to adjacent liver lobes, and hypoechoic to the spleen. The mean thickness measurements for the right pancreatic lobe, body, and left pancreatic lobe were 4.5 mm (range 2.8-5.9), 6.6 mm (range 4.7-9.5), and 5.4 mm (range 3.4-9.0), respectively. The pancreatic duct was consistently visualized in the left pancreatic lobe and had a mean thickness of 0.8 mm (range 0.5-1.3). It could be differentiated from the pancreatic vessel, by its central location, and the duct's lack of Doppler flow signal. The duodenum was used as a landmark to identify the right lobe of the pancreas. The mean duodenal wall thickness measurement was 2.8 mm (range 2.1-3.8) in sagittal section, and 3.0 mm (range 2.2-4.4) in transverse section. The duodenal papilla was identified in 4 of 20 cats. It ranged in size from 2.9 to 5.5 mm in width, and had a maximum height of 4.0 mm in transverse section. The portal vein was used as a consistent anatomic landmark for identification of the left lobe and body of the pancreas. The mean diameter of the portal vein at the level where the pancreatic body joins the left pancreatic lobe was 4.3 mm (range 2.7-5.9) when viewed in sagittal section, and 4.5 mm (range 3.6-6.1) in transverse section. The gastric lymph node was identified cranial and ventromedial to the pyloroduodenal angle in 6 of 20 cats. It had an asymmetrical shape with a larger caudal pole in five of the six cats. The largest dimensions of the gastric lymph node were 10 mm in length, and 6 mm in width for the larger caudal pole, and 5.1 mm in width for the smaller cranial pole.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cats / anatomy & histology*
  • Female
  • Male
  • Pancreas / anatomy & histology*
  • Pancreas / diagnostic imaging*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Ultrasonography