Veterinary Research Communications

, Volume 42, Issue 2, pp 137–143 | Cite as

B-mode ultrasound examination of canine mammary gland neoplastic lesions of small size (diameter < 2 cm)

  • Iacopo Vannozzi
  • Matteo Tesi
  • Marta Zangheri
  • Viola Maria Innocenti
  • Alessandra Rota
  • Simonetta Citi
  • Alessandro Poli
Original Article


Ultrasonography is a valuable tool for the evaluation of neoplastic lesions in the dog and there is a growing interest in the use of this technique for the stadiation of canine mammary tumours. An accurate assessment of small sized nodules facilitates the stadiation of the mammary lesions and helps the clinician in the choice of the most indicated surgical therapy. The aim of this study was to identify those ultrasound criteria that may be useful in discriminating between benign and malignant lesions of small size (diameter smaller than 2 cm). Sixty-two nodules, < 2 cm in larger diameter, belonging to thirty-five bitches presented between January 2012 and February 2014 were evaluated. Tumours were observed by conventional ultrasound and assessed for: shape (regular-irregular), limit (defined-ill-defined), margins (regular-irregular), echogenicity (hypoechoic-isoechoic-hyperecoic), echotexture (homogeneus-heterogeneus), presence of hyperecoic halo, distal acoustic enhancement or shadowing and surrounding tissue alterations. Among the alterations in surrounding tissues, the disruption of the glandular tissue and the increase in echogenicity of the peritumoral tissues were assessed. Thereafter, bitches were subjected to mastectomy and nodules were evaluated histologically. None of the ultasound criteria considered in the current study showed a statistically significant relation with malignancy, except for the presence of alterations in the tissue surrounding the nodules. According to our results, this characteristic may indicate malignancy, however its subjectivity may affect the applicability in clinical practice. In conclusions, conventional ultrasound in bitches had a limited ability in discriminating benign and malignant mammary gland neoplastic lesions of small size (diameter < 2 cm).


Dog Canine Mammary tumours Ultrasound Image analysis Ultrasound criteria 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that there is no conflict of interests regarding the publication of this paper.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Veterinary SciencesUniversity of PisaPisaItaly
  2. 2.Veterinary Center “Campo di Marte”LivornoItaly

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