Felis ISSN 2398-2950

Ultrasonography: adrenal gland

Introduction

Uses

  • Investigation of:
    • Polyuria, polydypsia, weight loss.
    • Insulin resistant diabetes   Diabetes mellitus  .
    • Hypertension    Hypertension  .
    • Hypokalemia   Hypokalemia  .
    • Hypernatremia.
    • Non-pruritic alopecia   Alopecia: overview  , thin, easily torn or fragile skin.
    • Weakness.
    • Symptoms of central depression.

Advantages

  • Low cost.
  • Non-invasive.
  • Short time requirement if experienced.
  • Examination possible without sedation.
  • No known biological risk.
  • Allows ultrasound guided:
  • Allows evaluation of other organs for related problems, eg invasion of caudal vena cava or hepatic metastases by adrenal carcinomas.
     Time requirement will reduce with operator experience.

Disadvantages

  • Investigation is dependent on operator skill and suitability of ultrasonographic equipment.
  • Examination is poorly reproducible and remote interpretation difficult.
  • May require patient's coat to be clipped.
  • Normal sonographic appearance does not exclude disease.
  • Failure to identify adrenal glands does not exclude disease.
  • Gives no information on endocrine function.
  • Abnormal sonographic appearance does not always indicate significant disease.
  • Similar sonographic appearance with different diseases.

Potential problems

  • Poor transducer-skin contact:
    • Inadequate clipping.
    • Insufficient coupling medium.
  • Inadequate patient restraint.
  • Operator inexperience.
  • Excess intestinal gas.
  • Inadequate equipment.

Alternatives

Equipment

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Patient preparation

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technique

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Normal anatomy

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Abnormalities

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Further Reading

Publications

Refereed papers

  • Recent references from PubMed and VetMedResource.
  • Ash A R, Harvey A M, Tasker S (2005) Primary Hyperaldosteronism in the Cat: A Series of 13 Cases. J Feline Med Surg (3), 173-182 PubMed.
  • Chastain C B, Panciera D, Waters C (2001) Ultrasonographic Examination of the Adrenal Gland and Evaluation of the Hypophyseal-Adrenal Axis in 20 Cats. Sm Anim Clin Endocrinol 11 (1).
  • Zimmer C, Hörauf A, Reusch C (2000) Ultrasonographic examination of the adrenal gland and evaluation of the hypophyseal-adrenal axis in 20 cats. J Small Anim Pract 41 (4), 156-160 PubMed.
  • Boord M, Griffin C (1999) Progesterone-secreting adrenal mass in a cat with clinical signs of hyperadrenocorticism. J Am Vet Med Assoc 214 (5), 666-669 PubMed.
  • Watson P J, Herrtage M E (1998) Hyperadrenocorticism in six cats. J Small Anim Pract 39 (4), 175-184 PubMed.
  • Chun R, Jakovljevic S, Morrison W B et al (1997) Apocrine gland adenocarcinoma and pheochromocytoma in a cat. J Am Anim Hosp Assoc 33 (1), 33-36 PubMed.
  • Tidwell A S, Penninck D G & Besso J G (1997) Imaging of adrenal gland disorders. Vet Clin North Am Small Anim Pract 27 (2), 237-254 PubMed.

Other sources of information

  • Andrew Holloway BVSc CertSAM DVDI MRCVS, Queens Veterinary School Hospital, University of Cambridge, Madingley Road, Cambridge CB3 0ES, UK.
  • Fraser McConnell BVM&S CertSAM DVR DipECVDI MRCVS RCVS and European Recognised Specialist in Veterinary Diagnostic Imaging, Animal Health Trust, Centre for Small Animal Studies, Lanwades Park, Kentford, Newmarket, Suffolk CB8 7UU, UK.


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