You are using an outdated browser. Please upgrade your browser to improve your experience.

Close [x]

Follow Us

CASE # 1

A 6 year old Beagle was attacked by a coyote six months ago. Surgery was done at the time to repair body wall wounds, and various punctures to the small intestines. After several weeks, the owner noticed episodes of what looked to be pain.  The patient would actually wake up from a sleep and cry out, and assume “the position of relief” (if you don’t know what this is, Google it). Sometimes, there was vomiting, and sometimes there was pain after eating. An abdominal ultrasound was requested to see if the cause of the pain could be identified.

Here is an ultrasound image of what was found. An abnormally corrugated small intestinal loop, with some small pockets of fluid in the wall. It was hard to picture how this could be secondary to the prior coyote bite wounds, but what else could it be from?  The rest of the abdomen appeared normal, so this had to be the cause of the pain.

A surgical exploration was done, and this abnormal section of small intestine was removed. The picture shows the small fluid pockets of the intestinal wall, and the abnormal corrugation.

Following surgery, the patient has not shown any signs of pain. We don’t know why this occurred, and why the intestines would not heal properly. Also, we don’t know why it took weeks after the initial repair to start causing problems. What we do know is that the abdominal ultrasound study helped identify the problem, so that the proper treatment could be recommended.                   


CASE # 2

For 2 months, this dog had been sneezing and had red tinged drainage from his nostrils. Antibiotics and steroids did not seem to help. We were called in by the referring veterinarian to do a rhinoscopy. This procedure revealed a large grass awn in the nasopharynx. The grass awn was grasped with forceps and removed in 1 piece. The rest of the nasal cavity was thoroughly examined to ensure that there were no more pieces present. As you can imagine, this cured this pet’s signs!


CASE # 3

How many rocks does it take for a dog to get sick? It can vary, but we were able to remove 15 of them using endoscopy from this dog. Don't you wonder what makes them think, yum, this rock tastes delicious, I'm going to eat just one more?


CASE # 4

Here is a lateral radiograph (x-ray) from a 1 year old dog who was seen to have eaten his mini tennis ball while playing. He had been vomiting ever since. Luckily, the veterinarian thought to call us to have it removed. Otherwise, he would have had to have surgery. 
The second picture shows the ball after it was taken out using the endoscope. This is so much less traumatic for the dog. He was able to go home and be normal afterwards. No invasive surgery needed. The cost is less, and the recovery rapid, and the complication rate much less than surgical exploration.


Case #5

Chest radiographs from this large dog (presented for 3 weeks of drooling, not feeling well, anorexia, and 7-pound weight loss) revealed an enlarged hilar lymph node; in Phoenix, this is often seen with Valley Fever (a fungal infection caused by the organism Coccidioides immitis). A possible abdominal mass was also suspected, due to some intestinal displacement seen. On a thoracic ultrasound, an enlarged hilar lymph node was visible above the left atrium of the heart. There was also an increased amount of pleural fluid. A sample of pleural fluid was taken and sent out to the lab to be evaluated. The lab results came back showing that the problem was a tumor, specifically a round cell tumor. Attached is an image of the cells found (sent by the lab).  There were also inflammatory cells. Also attached are images of the radiographs showing the enlarged hilar lymph node. The moral of the story……Don’t count your chickens before they hatch…..No, the moral really is: Don’t assume the most frequent cause of disease is always the cause. One needs to take samples from patients to get a definitive diagnosis. 



This Golden Retriever had crusting of the right nostril for about 2 years. He was reportedly panting more than the other dogs in the household. He had been on therapy with antihistamines and prednisone, but this had not helped. Rhinoscopy was done, which revealed two nasal mites in the right nasal cavity, along with a mild increase in the amount of stringy mucus. No mites were found in the entire left nasal cavity, which appeared normal. The patient was treated with an appropriate medication to kill the nasal mites and resolve the problem.



This is a challenging case to know what to do. This adult Chihuahua had a large mass in the inguinal area. It was thought to be a fatty tumor (lipoma), but radiographs revealed that the mass was actually an inguinal hernia, and most of the intestines had translocated into the hernia (note the arrows on the second lateral radiograph). What is not so obvious is that the radiographs also show an enlarged, irregularly shaped heart. This is outlined with arrows on the 3rd radiograph.  Soon after he was positioned for the VD radiographic view, he became cyanotic, with labored breathing. A cardiac ultrasound was therefore done to further evaluate the heart. The ultrasound study showed mitral endocardiosis with mitral regurgitation, and a large, solid, hypoechoic mass off the aortic arch, at the base of the heart. The heart base tumor is most likely a chemodectoma (aortic body tumor). This tumor is not surgically resectable. It has probably been there a long time, and it may be a long time before it causes a pericardial effusion and resultant clinical signs. What would you do?  The decision was to start appropriate cardiac medications for the mitral regurgitation, and to then surgically correct the inguinal hernia. The owners felt that their pet had no signs of the heart problem, but was having problems with the hernia. We will see how long it takes before the heart base mass starts to cause clinical signs. I have followed some dogs for years with this type of lesion, with no signs developing. Let’s hope this occurs in this patient.



This adult Standard Poodle had chest radiographs that revealed an esophageal foreign body as the cause of persistently bringing up his food. The owners mentioned that the pet had eaten some meat off the counter the previous night. Since it is very important to remove esophageal foreign bodies as soon as possible, the owners agreed to have an emergency esophagoscopy performed after hours. During the esophagoscopy, a large piece of meat was found lodged in the esophagus, and it was successfully removed with an endoscopic grasping forceps. Some areas of the esophageal mucosa were black and were starting to become necrotic, but there were no ulcerations yet. It is hoped that the esophagus can now heal, without forming a stricture (a possible complication when the lining of the esophagus is damaged, as in this case).



This adult male Dachshund was presented for chronic sneezing. There had been minimal nasal discharge. Dental radiographs were normal. A dentistry was done, but the signs persisted.  A rhinoscopy was performed to evaluate the nasal cavities. Just inside the left nostril, there was an abnormal white and black structure. Can you figure out what this is?  See the first image. One consideration was that it may be an imbedded pebble. During an exam of the mouth, the canine tooth in question appeared normal. See the second image. Using a dental probe, it was discovered to be an abscessed root of the left upper canine tooth that had eroded through the nasal mucosa.  See the third image. After the probe was passed through the gum line, the endoscope was passed again and the probe was seen in the nasal cavity. See the fourth image. The abscessed tooth was then extracted, which should lead to resolution of the sneezing. See the fifth image. 


CASE #10

Look what we found!!

This 3 ½ month old male kitten had a history of failure to thrive, which had progressively worsened. He was thin and had a "pot-bellied" appearance. Radiographs showed poor serosal detail, and possible liver enlargement or free-fluid in the abdomen. On palpation, abdominal pain was noted. Blood chemistry showed increased ALT (133 U/L) and decreased albumin (2.1 g/dL). A CBC showed normal WBC (15.77 K/uL), with lymphocytosis (12.43 K/uL) and eosinopenia (0.10 K/uL). There was also anemia (RBC=5.66 M/uL, HCT=18.7%), with decreased hemoglobin (6.4 g/dL) and decreased platelets (96 K/uL). FeLV and FIV tests were negative. An abdominal ultrasound showed enlargement of the liver and spleen, with marked mesenteric lymphadenopathy (see the pictures). Neoplastic or inflammatory diseases were considered most likely. An aspiration of the spleen or an enlarged lymph node was offered, to try to make a cytologic diagnosis. The owner declined further diagnostics, and the kitten was euthanized. A necropsy was performed, since the owner had other kittens from the litter.  Here is a picture of the histopathology slide, which was diagnostic for a fungal disease called histoplasmosis. It’s a yeast with a capsule.  This is an uncommon problem in Arizona, but can be seen in a cat from our Phoenix area. By knowing the diagnosis, the other cats in the household and litter can be screened and treated, if they are infected. 


CASE #11

This 17-year-old, FS, cat had a history of bloody urine and straining to urinate, which has been non-responsive to antibiotics. On abdominal palpation, a firm, irregular urinary bladder was noted. We performed an ultrasound and found…….There is a large, hypoechoic, irregularly surfaced mass of the bladder wall, and an enlarged hypoechoic sublumbar lymph node. There was not much room for urine in the bladder, given the size of the mass. Hence, the straining.  The mass is likely an aggressive tumor. Most likely it is a transitional cell carcinoma, but it could be some other tumor type. The enlarged sublumbar lymph node likely represents metastatic disease. The prognosis is poor. Surgery is not an option. [If you would like to see a photo of what a normal bladder looks like, you can view that in our folder for normal ultrasounds on our Facebook page] 


CASE #12

This 2 yr old FS cat, had urinary issues similar to the other cat posted today. She was straining to urinate and there was blood in the urine.  A urinalysis revealed concentrated urine with some struvite crystals. She was treated with a special urinary diet and an antibiotics for several months, but the signs persisted.  The most recent urinalysis was again concentrated, but with amorphous crystals. Treatment with antibiotics and steroids did not help. Bleeding from her vulva was also reported by her owner despite the fact that she was spayed. An ultrasound revealed... multiple bladder stones and bilateral renal calcifications. Since she had been on the urinary diet and the stones obviously had not dissolved, surgery was recommended to have them removed.  The same signs as the other cat posted, but different findings!

CASE #13

This 12 yr old Bichon/Poodle mix dog was reportedly adopted when young, as a neutered male dog.  He developed hematuria (bloody urine) recently that had not been responsive to antibiotics.  Cancer was a concern. An abdominal ultrasound revealed an enlarged, cystic prostate gland, with a smooth capsule. It was non-painful to palpation.  The finding of benign cystic prostatic hyperplasia is only seen if testicles are present.  Sure enough, with the ultrasound, bilateral retained testicles were also found in the abdomen. Surgery was needed to remove the testicles.  Once removed, the prostate gland will involute, and the hematuria will resolve. 

The moral of the story; when adopting a stray, one should ask the adoption agency if they actually performed the neutering surgery, or did they just assume that it was done.  Interestingly, retained testicles often develop tumors within them. However, these testicles had no tumors.