Veterinary ultrasound has proved incredibly useful when attempting to further our knowledge on various aspects of animal physiology. A paper published by Hirata M et al, ‘Follicular development of canine ovaries stimulated by a combination treatment of eCG and hCG’ in Veterinary Medicine and Science on 2018 Oct 1 sought to elucidate the effects of two types of hormone on the ovaries in 5 dogs. This was carried out as a measure of follicular development, as this area is currently not well-understood in these animals. The abstract is looked at here, but the full article can be accessed by clicking on this link.

Following clamping of the ovaries subcutaneously (to facilitate easier imaging), two hormones were given to encourage oestrus to occur, i.e. to mimic the conditions required for fertility. These hormones were called equine chorionic gonadotropin (eCG) and human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) before ultrasound imaging and other pre-determined techniques were carried out up to 20 days following the administration of hormones. The results revealed that the follicles increased in size (all over 1mm width), whilst there was an increase in levels of oestrogen and progesterone (in all dogs and 3 dogs respectively). For a full breakdown of the results please see the abstract/full article.

This study demonstrates that ultrasonography is a good method to monitor canine ovaries when used as described here. Caution should be exerted when extrapolating results to ‘real-life’ situations at this point however, as only a small cohort of animals were used in this study. Nevertheless, these results can be thought of as a good indicator of the physiological changes that occur in the ovarian follicle, and reveal yet another role for ultrasound imaging in our canine companions.