To describe the feasibility and technique for performing laparoscopic ultrasound (LUS) of the liver in dogs.
12 client-owned dogs presenting for elective laparoscopic surgery from January 1, 2022, to October 31, 2022.
Laparoscopic exploration and LUS of the liver were performed in all dogs. Dogs were positioned in reverse Trendelenburg and laterally rotated to facilitate access to all liver lobes. Time to perform laparoscopic exploration and LUS, ability to visualize and access each liver lobe entirely, and any complications were recorded. Each dog underwent an elective laparoscopic procedure. The surgeon completed a National Aeronautics and Space Administration Task Load Index (NASA-TLX) questionnaire after surgery.
Mean body weight was 25.9 kg (SD, ± 4.1 kg; range, 5.7 to 62 kg). All liver lobes were scanned to the level of the hilus in 10/12 dogs. In 2 dogs, the caudate lobe could not be completely imaged. Median time to perform LUS was 9 minutes (IQR, 5 to 16.5 minutes), and median NASA-TLX score was 9/100 (IQR, 6.3 to 20). There was a significantly strong negative correlation between time to perform LUS (r = −0.77; P = .0037) and NASA-TLX score (r = −0.84; P = .0006) with trial number. Minor complications occurred in 2 dogs during laparoscopic exploration. No complications occurred during LUS.
LUS was feasible and safe in all dogs. The right lateral and caudate lobes were occasionally challenging to access. Technical demand and time to perform LUS improved with experience, suggesting a learning curve. Evaluation of LUS in dogs with clinical disease is warranted.