Abdominal Ultrasonography of the Normal Vervet Monkey (Chlorocebus sabaeus)
American Association of Zoo Veterinarians Conference 2013
Joseph T. Amory1, DVM; Wencke M. du Plessis2, Dr. Med. Vet., MMed (Diagnostic Imaging), DECVDI; Amy Beierschmitt2,3, DVM; Janet Beeler-Marfisi2, BA, DVM, DVSc, DACVP; Thierry Beths4, DVM, Cert VA, MRCVS, PhD
1School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA, USA; 2School of Veterinary Medicine, Ross University, St. Kitts, West Indies; 3Behavioural Science Foundation, Basseterre, St. Kitts, West Indies; 4School of Veterinary Science, University of Melbourne, Werribee, VIC, Australia


The vervet monkey is an important non-human primate species utilized for biomedical research. Abdominal ultrasonography is commonly used in small animal veterinary medicine and normal abdominal echoanatomy has been described in other primate species.2 Thoracic radiography has also been described in the vervet monkey.3

The object of this research was to describe the normal abdominal echoanatomy and to provide reference values for selected abdominal organs in the vervet monkey.

Twenty clinically normal sexually mature vervet monkeys between 5 and 12 years of age and weighing between 3.13 and 6.85 kg were evaluated with ultrasound. Individuals were randomly divided into one of two immobilization protocols and scanned at 18.0 MHz. Physical examination, hematology and serum biochemistry values were all within normal limits.

High-quality images of the liver, gallbladder, kidneys, urinary bladder, spleen, adrenal glands, and gastrointestinal tract were acquired. A dorsolateral approach was considered to be particularly useful in order to avoid the fecal/gas content of the colon. The prostate and trigone area of the urinary bladder were not visualized. Abdominal lymph nodes other than ileocolic, the pancreas, and the female reproductive tract were not evaluated. Gastric and duodenal motility were significantly different between immobilization protocols (p<0.05). Gender dimorphism in weight was observed. Species-specific findings included, but were not limited to, pyelectasia, prominent right liver, and iso- to hyperechoic renal cortices compared to spleen and liver.

In conclusion, ultrasonography provided an excellent noninvasive assessment of the vervet monkey’s abdomen, and normal size parameters for abdominal viscera were established.1


Funding provided by an institutional grant from Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine. Abstract reprinted with permission from the Journal of Medical Primatology.

Literature Cited

1.  Amory JT, du Plessis WM, Beierschmitt A, Beeler-Marfisi J, Palmour RM, Beths T. Abdominal ultrasonography of the normal St. Kitts vervet monkey (Chlorocebus sabaeus). J Med Primatol. 2013;42(20):28–38.

2.  Wagner WM, Kirberger RM. Transcutaneous ultrasonography of the abdomen in the common normal marmoset (Callithrix jacchus). Vet Radiol Ultrasound. 2005;46(3):251–258.

3.  Young AN, du Plessis WM, Rodriguez D, Beierschmitt A. Thoracic radiographic anatomy in vervet monkeys (Chlorocebus sabaeus). J Med Primatol. 2013; submitted for publication.


Speaker Information
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Wencke M. du Plessis, Dr. Med. Vet., MMed (Diagnostic Imaging), DECVDI
School of Veterinary Medicine
Ross University
St. Kitts, West Indies

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