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Dog Barium Test

Dog Barium Test - Information on Diagnosis of Barium Test For Dogs

One of the most common reasons for a visit to the pet clinic is vomiting.

This is not an illness in itself, but rather a symptom of another underlying condition.  Vomiting can occur due to various factors such as dietary problems, inflammation, metabolic disorders, food allergies, parasites and many others. Dogs may also suffer from other ailments such as swallowing difficulties, weight loss and abdominal problems. The medical history of the dog must be evaluated and a physical exam must be conducted in order to determine the causes of such conditions. In many cases, additional testing is required to make a diagnosis.

Barium Test For Dogs

A dog barium test is usually done to determine the cause of vomiting, blood stained vomit, weight loss and abnormal stools in dogs. Barium is a metallic compound that is visible on x-rays. It helps to make the inner portion of the esophagus and stomach more visible. In a barium test for dogs, liquid barium is fed to the pet.

Barium has a metallic taste, but manufacturers add some flavor to it mask the unpleasantness. Today there are also barium beads available which are easier to swallow. These beads are not always effective in revealing the stomach and intestinal lining. They work better in showing the motility or how fast a substance moves through the intestines. Barium shows up on the x-ray as a white area and hence it must not touch any part of the dog’s outer body. Once the barium is administered, a series of x-rays are taken at varying intervals. In a dog barium series, the x-rays must be taken at specific times so that the problem can be viewed. Too little or too much time can cause a problem in detection.

The entire process may take about 12 hours so a thorough evaluation can be done. In some cases, the problem may lie in the stomach itself and the barium will reveal the abnormality in the initial few x-rays. It is revealed in the form of an outline known as a filling defect as the barium cannot enter that area. The problem is then examined and investigated further through an endoscopy or surgical procedure. In some cases, the dog may have to be brought back the next day. If the barium remains in the system for more than 24 hours, it could be indicative of a problem. In many cases, a barium test may skip the problem completely and further tests become necessary.

  Submitted on January 25, 2012