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Logo of bmcvetresBioMed Centralsearchsubmit a manuscriptregisterthis articleBMC Veterinary Research
BMC Vet Res. 2012; 8: 102.
Published online 2012 July 2. doi:  10.1186/1746-6148-8-102
PMCID: PMC3425322

Assessment of renal volume by three-dimensional ultrasonography in pregnant bitches: an experimental study using virtual organ computer-aided analysis



To assess and to compare the renal volume evolution in bitches during pregnancy by two-dimensional (2D) ultrasonography using the ellipsoid technique (volume = length x width x depth x 0.523) and three-dimensional (3D) ultrasonography using the Virtual Organ Computer-aided AnaLysis (VOCAL) method. A longitudinal prospective study was performed with 17 normal Golden Retrievers bitches during pregnancy from heat to the last third of gestation. The ultrasound scans were performed by two veterinarians. The left and right kidneys were assessed in three moments (day 0 = non-pregnant bitches; days 1st to 20th of pregnancy and days 21st to 40th of pregnancy) by three techniques (ellipsoid; VOCAL 12° and VOCAL 30°). For reproducibility calculations, we used the intraclass correlation coefficient (ICC).


The inferential result of the volumes in ANOVA revealed the interaction effect between side and moment (p = 0.009). The 3D techniques showed, in average, the same renal volumes (p = 0.137) regardless of the side and moment. Considering the right side, the renal volume in the day 0 was smaller than the day 21st to 40th (p = 0.029). Considering the left side, the renal volume at day 0 was smaller than the day 1st to 20th (p = 0.020) and day 21st to 40th (p = 0.007). It was found good intra observer reproducibility (ICC > 0.9) and none of the three techniques showed a good inter observer reproducibility (ICC < 0.7).


The renal volume bitches by 3D ultrasonography using the VOCAL method (12° and 30°) had good correlation with the volume obtained by 2D ultrasonography method.

Keywords: Pregnant bitches, Renal volume, Two-dimensional ultrasound, Three-dimensional ultrasound, VOCAL

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