VARIABILITY IN THE ULTRASONOGRAPHIC APPEARANCE OF THE PANCREAS IN HEALTHY DOGS COMPARED TO DOGS WITH HYPERADRENOCORTICISM.
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Anecdotally, an unusually hyperechoic pancreas can be found in seemingly healthy dogs on ultrasound examination and the prevalence and clinical significance of this finding is unknown. The objective of this study was to describe the prevalence of a hyperechoic and/or heterogenous pancreas in healthy dogs and correlate these findings to weight, age, and body condition score (BCS). An additional objective was to describe the prevalence of a hyperechoic and/or heterogenous pancreas in dogs with hyperadrenocorticism and compare this to the healthy dogs. Pancreata of 74 healthy dogs were evaluated prospectively and pancreatic echogenicity and echotexture were graded. Each dog's age, BCS, and weight were recorded. Dogs were screened for health by physical examination, serum chemistry panel, urine specific gravity, and a canine pancreatic lipase immunoreactivity assay. Pancreatic images for 92 dogs having hyperadrenocorticism were also reviewed and pancreatic echogenicity and echotexture were recorded. The prevalence of pancreatic hyperechogenicity in normal dogs was 7% (5 of 74) and heterogeneity was 40% (30 of 74). No correlation existed between pancreatic echogenicity and weight, age, or BCS (P > 0.1 for all sets). A statistically significant increase in the proportion of dogs having a hyperechoic pancreas was found in the hyperadrenocorticism sample of dogs (40%, 37 of 92, P < 0.0001). The underlying cause of pancreatic variability in the few healthy dogs and in dogs with hyperadrenocorticism is unknown and the varying appearance of the pancreas in these samples confounds interpretation of diseases such as chronic pancreatitis.