Ultrasonographic findings in dogs and cats with gastrointestinal perforation

Vet Radiol Ultrasound. 2003 Sep-Oct;44(5):556-64. doi: 10.1111/j.1740-8261.2003.tb00507.x.


A retrospective study was performed to evaluate the sonographic features of gastrointestinal (GI) perforation in dogs and cats. Sonographic findings in 19 animals (14 dogs and 5 cats) included regional bright mesenteric fat (19), peritoneal effusion (16), fluid-filled stomach or intestines (12), GI wall thickening (11), presence of free air (9), loss of GI wall layering (9), regional lymphadenopathy (8), reduced GI motility (7), pancreatic changes (4), corrugated intestines (4), presence of a mass (3), presence of a foreign body (3), and mineralization of the gastric wall (1). In 14 patients, "perforation" was listed as a differential diagnosis by the sonographer. Abdominal radiographs and radiographic reports were available for 14 patients. Radiographic findings were decreased serosal detail (12), free air (8), peritoneal contrast medium (1), and suspected foreign body (1). GI perforation was listed as radiographic diagnosis in eight patients, seven of which had evidence of pneumoperitoneum, and one had leakage of contrast material on an upper GI study. In 9/14 patients with radiography, "GI perforation" was listed as a sonographic diagnosis. In three patients in which free air was diagnosed sonographically, radiographs were either not available (2) or the presence of free air was not detected at presentation (1). Peritoneal fluid analysis was performed in nine patients, five of which were identified as septic inflammation, and the remaining four were classified as neutrophilic inflammation with no etiologic agent identified. The histologic or surgical diagnoses were as follows: three intestinal surgical dehiscence; one percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy tube site leakage; one duodenal adenocarcinoma; one ileocolic lymphoma; one trichobezoar; one ascarid impaction; and one bobby pin foreign body. In the remaining 10 patients, a focal area of gastric/intestinal ulceration or transmural necrosis with perforation was identified without evidence of an underlying cause.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cat Diseases / diagnostic imaging*
  • Cat Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Cat Diseases / etiology
  • Cats
  • Colon
  • Dog Diseases / diagnostic imaging*
  • Dog Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Dog Diseases / etiology
  • Dogs
  • Female
  • Gastrointestinal Diseases / diagnostic imaging
  • Gastrointestinal Diseases / epidemiology
  • Gastrointestinal Diseases / veterinary*
  • Intestinal Perforation / diagnostic imaging
  • Intestinal Perforation / epidemiology
  • Intestinal Perforation / veterinary*
  • Intestine, Small
  • Male
  • Massachusetts / epidemiology
  • Radiography, Abdominal / veterinary
  • Records / veterinary
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Stomach
  • Ultrasonography / veterinary