The ultrasonography (US) is a complementary technique of choice for the diagnostic of hepatic diseases in many domestics' species. In sheep however there are few reports about ultrasonography in hepatic diseases and there is not precise definition about the anatomic standards of normal liver limits in ultrasonographic examination. In this study 58 Santa Inês sheep breed were used and divided in 3 groups: n1=8 males, n2=10 not pregnant females and n3=40 pregnant females. The animals were scanned from the 12º to 8º intercostal spaces (EI) to observe the localization of the vena cava caudal (VC), gallbladder (VB) and to measure the liver thickness above the VC and vena portae VP under the 11º and 10º EI. The liver was examined on satisfactory way from the 12º till the 8º EI. Both the VC and the VP where observed from the 12º to 9º EI, however the VC could not be observed in 11 animals, 10 of them were over 50 kg. Between the two female groups the VC and VP where observed most frequently from the 11º to 10º EI and in all males examined from the 12º to 10º EI. The location of the gallbladder varies between the 10º to the 8º EI, with bigger incidence between the 9º and the 8º EI in pregnant and no pregnant females groups and underneath the 9º EI on the male group. Comparatively, the ecogenicity of the liver parenchyma was more intense than kidney cortex. There was a significant correlation between liver's weight and hepatic thikness above the vena portae on the 11º and 10º EI on the pregnant females group. The US supplied to important information about the topography and echogenicity of the liver and showed to be a useful tool to esteem the liver's weight.
Sheep; ultrasonography; liver; Vena cava caudalis; Vena portae; gall bladder