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Research article2019Peer reviewed

Renal ultrasonographic abnormalities are associated with low glomerular filtration rate calculated by scintigraphy in dogs

Mattei, Chiara; Pelander, Lena; Hansson, Kerstin; Uhlhorn, Margareta; Olsson, Ulf; Haggstrom, Jens; Ljungvall, Ingrid; Ley, Charles J.


Ultrasound provides information on kidney morphology, but studies relating structural and functional abnormalities in chronic kidney disease (CKD) are lacking. The aim of this descriptive cross-sectional study was to compare individual kidney (IK) B-mode ultrasound abnormalities to IK glomerular filtration rate (GFR) estimated by scintigraphy normalized to plasma volume (PV) in dogs, to evaluate if ultrasonographic findings were associated with low IKGFR/PV. Eighty privately owned dogs with and without clinical suspicion of CKD were prospectively enrolled, and kidney ultrasound and IKGFR/PV were evaluated independently. Ultrasound images were assessed retrospectively for subjective abnormalities (shape, cortical, and medullary hyperechogenicity), and kidney size was measured. The normal IKGFR/PV cutoff was derived from dogs in the study group with no history and clinical signs of kidney disease and normal blood and urine results (n = 28) and was 16.84 mL/min/L. Kidneys were categorized into normal, mild, moderate, and severe ultrasound changes according to subjective ultrasound grades. Associations were found between low IKGFR/PV and abnormal kidney shape (P = .0004), cortical hyperechogenicity (P = .0008), medullary hyperechogenicity (P < .0001), and low kidney volume (P = .0092). Apart from the moderate and severe category comparison, IKGFR/PV value significantly decreased with increasing severity of category. The combination of ultrasonographic subjective abnormalities had a high sensitivity (93.8%) and moderate specificity (65.7%) for detecting low IKGFR/PV. Kidneys with normal IKGFR/PV had a low frequency of mild ultrasound changes. Findings indicate kidneys with increasing number and grade of subjective ultrasound abnormalities are more likely to have a lower IKGFR/PV.


canine; chronic kidney disease; kidneys; nuclear medicine; ultrasound

Published in

Veterinary Radiology and Ultrasound
2019, Volume: 60, number: 4, pages: 432-446