Abdomen: ballottement

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Introduction

  • Abdominal distention is a common clinical sign of a variety of disease processes.
  • Physical examination can involve abdominal auscultation    , transrectal palpation     [Urogenital: rectal palpation]  and transabdominal ballottement.
  • Although the technique is commonly used in the bovine and ovine, it is rarely practiced in the equine.

Uses

  • Detection of large firm masses, including fetuses, or abnormal volume of peritoneal fluid.

Advantages

  • Simple and safe.
  • No equipment required.
  • Useful in animals too small to palpate per rectum.

Disadvantages

  • More difficult in the equine because of the increased rigidity of the abdominal wall, especially if assessing fluid wave.
  • Mainly of use in the foal.
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