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Am J Vet Res. 2013 Jan;74(1):70-7. doi: 10.2460/ajvr.74.1.70.

Use of quantitative contrast-enhanced ultrasonography to detect diffuse renal changes in Beagles with iatrogenic hypercortisolism.

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Department of Veterinary Medical Imaging and Small Animal Orthopedics, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Ghent University, Merelbeke, Belgium.



To determine the feasibility of quantitative contrast-enhanced ultrasonography (CEUS) for detection of changes in renal blood flow in dogs before and after hydrocortisone administration.


11 Beagles.


Dogs were randomly assigned to 2 treatment groups: oral administration of hydrocortisone (9.6 mg/kg; n = 6) or a placebo (5; control group) twice a day for 4 months, after which the dose was tapered until treatment cessation at 6 months. Before treatment began and at 1, 4, and 6 months after, CEUS of the left kidney was performed by IV injection of ultrasonography microbubbles. Images were digitized, and time-intensity curves were generated from regions of interest in the renal cortex and medulla. Changes in blood flow were determined as measured via contrast agent (baseline [background] intensity, peak intensity, area under the curve, arrival time of contrast agent, time-to-peak intensity, and speed of contrast agent transport).


Significant increases in peak intensity, compared with that in control dogs, were observed in the renal cortex and medulla of hydrocortisone-treated dogs 1 and 4 months after treatment began. Baseline intensity changed similarly. A significant increase from control values was also apparent in area under the curve for the renal cortex 4 months after hydrocortisone treatment began and in the renal medulla 1 and 4 months after treatment began. A significant time effect with typical time course was observed, corresponding with the period during which hydrocortisone was administered. No difference was evident in the other variables between treated and control dogs.


Quantitative CEUS allowed detection of differences in certain markers of renal blood flow between dogs treated orally with and without hydrocortisone. Additional studies are needed to investigate the usefulness of quantitative CEUS in the diagnosis of diffuse renal lesions.

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