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Open Access Research article

Ultrasonography of the omasum in 30 Saanen goats

Ueli Braun* and Désirée Jacquat

Author Affiliations

Department of Farm Animals, Vetsuisse Faculty, University of Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland

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BMC Veterinary Research 2011, 7:11  doi:10.1186/1746-6148-7-11

Published: 21 February 2011



Primary diseases of the omasum are uncommon in goats, although the omasum may be involved in various gastrointestinal disorders. Examination of the caprine omasum via ultrasonography requires a good understanding of the normal appearance of the organ. However, in contrast to cattle, there is a lack of reference information on this topic in goats. Thus, the goal of the present study was to describe the results of ultrasonography of the omasum in 30 healthy Saanen goats.


Ultrasonography was carried out in standing, non-sedated goats using a 5.0 MHz linear transducer. The location and size of the omasum, thickness of the omasal wall and visualisation of the abomasal laminae, contents and contractions were assessed. The omasum was visible from the 9th intercostal space (ICS) in all the goats, and from the 8th and 10th ICSs in 29 and 24 goats, respectively. The omasum was seen medial to the liver, but only the omasal wall closest to the transducer was visible. The dorsal omasal limit formed a dorsally convex curve running from cranioventral to caudodorsal and was furthest from the dorsal midline in the 6th ICS. The ventral omasal limit formed a ventrally convex curve. The size of the omasum was largest (10.2 ± 3.1 cm) in the 9th ICS and decreased cranially and caudally from this position. Active omasal motility was recorded in 20 goats with 0.3 to 2.0 contractions per minute.


The findings of this study provide reference ranges for the interpretation of the location and size of the omasum in goats with suspected omasal abnormalities. Ultrasonography is an ideal diagnostic tool for evaluation of the omasum, which is not accessible to conventional examination techniques, such as inspection, palpation, percussion and auscultation.