Case Study: Normal Feline Ileum

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Feline Ileum 1
Figure 1
Feline Ileum Figure 2
Figure 2

Figures 1 and 2:
Transverse (Figure 1) and sagittal (Figure 2) images of a normal feline ileocolic junction obtained using a 12 MHz linear probe.

Feline Ileum Figure 3
Figure 3

Transverse image of a normal feline ileocolic junction obtained using an 8 MHz curvilinear probe.

Feline Ileum Figure 4
Figure 4

Transverse view of a normal feline ileum obtained using a 12 MHz linear probe.

The Feline Ileum

Identifying if a lesion is involving the ileocecal colonic junction in a cat is important. Involvement of this region is common in cats with intestinal disease. In the cat discussed in the prior case study, if the ileocecal colonic junction was involved, the difficulty of surgery would be increased, and the cat’s expected prognosis and recovery would be altered. Removal of the ileocecal colonic junction will result in longer hospitalization, as well as a longer postoperative period of diarrhea.

In the cat, the distal ileum has a distinctive ‘wagon wheel’ appearance. This segment of intestine is usually located with the following protocol:

  • Fan lateral to the right kidney in the sagittal plane. When the transverse colon is imaged, start to turn the transducer into a transverse plan, and search for the characteristic appearance of the transverse ileum. Surveying between the ileum and colon in both sagittal and transverse planes surveys the ileocecal colonic junction for lesions.

Imaging of the feline ileum and gastrointestinal tract in general is often facilitated with higher resolution transducers. Note the difference in appearance of the normal feline ileum using a 12 MHz linear (Figures 1, 2 and 4) vs. an 8 MHz curvilinear probe (Figure 3).


  • Goggin JM Biller DS, Debey BM, Pickar JG, Mason D: Ultrasonographic measurement of gastrointestinal wall thickness and the ultrasonographic appearance of the ileocolic region in healthy cats, J Am Anim Hosp Assoc 36:224-228, 2000.
  • Newell SM Graham JP, Roberts GD, Ginn PE, Harrison JM: Sonography of the normal feline gastrointestinal tract, Vet Radiol Ultrasound 40(1):40-43, 1999.

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