Ultrasound assessment of muscle mass in healthy Boxers, Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, Chihuahuas, Dachshunds, and Doberman Pinschers


We have started a new study to evaluate the use of ultrasound as a quick and non-invasive method of measuring muscle mass in dogs.  In many of the common diseases of dogs, such as heart failure, kidney disease, and cancer, a big problem that occurs is muscle loss.  This muscle loss is important because it can make dogs weak and can negatively affect their quality of life.  We have been studying methods of diagnosing and treating cachexia (the muscle loss that occurs with various diseases) for over 15 years. We are currently evaluating whether ultrasound, an non-invasive test, can be used to quickly and easily diagnose muscle loss in its early stages. 

Inclusion Criteria

To be eligible, dogs must be healthy 1-5 year old, neutered dogs (male or female) of the following breeds:



*Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

*Doberman pinscher



Dogs must be purebred and should have no heart murmur or other medical problems. 

Exclusion Criteria

Dogs with heart murmurs or any significant medical conditions

Client Benefits

If eligible, the dog will get a free examination at Tufts, will have a small blood sample collected (less than ½ teaspoon; to measure red blood cell count, blood sugar, and an estimate of kidney function), an x-ray of the chest to measure bone size, and an ultrasound of the muscles over his or her back (no shaving required). 


In addition to getting the free tests (blood test, x-ray, and ultrasound of the back muscles), this information will be beneficial in the future for dogs with heart disease, kidney disease, cancer, and other common diseases by validating an easy ultrasound test to measure muscle mass. 

Contact Information

Dr. Lisa Freeman Phone: (508) 887-4696