The purpose of this study was to characterise the radiographic appearance of abomasal phytobezoars in sheep as well as to evaluate the utility of abdominal radiography to identify them. Twenty-seven fat-tailed Herrick sheep with a clinical suspicion of abomasal impaction were examined radiographically. Abdominal survey radiographs in right lateral recumbency were taken. Abomasal phytobezoars (AP) were seen in abdominal survey radiographs in 25/27 sheep (92%). Their radiographic survey appearance was round-to-oval masses with radiopaque margins and radiopacity similar to the ingesta centrally. An additional gastrographic barium study was performed in six of the sheep, followed by exploratory laparotomy where phytobezoars were removed through abomasotomy. The optimal time to visualise the APs was 48 h post-contrast. A significant correlation was noted between phytobezoars size in radiology and surgery (r = 0.651, P < 0.001). Use of the barium study can improve the phytobezoar-ingesta contrast and visibility of the phytobezoars. Plain radiography with sheep positioned in right lateral recumbency is a useful supplementary technique which can be used to evaluate abomasal phytobezoariasis. This study shows that radiography is a suitable diagnostic method for detecting the presence of, but not the number of, abomasal phytobezoars in sheep.
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