The animal should be prepared for the study by being starved for a minimum of 24 hours. Drinking during this period is allowed.
If the study is to include the large intestine, it is important the large bowel has been evacuated prior to the study.
A barium concentration of 80-100% W/W is used. The volume to be administered should be 6ml/kg-12ml/kg BW. The high dose/kg is recommended for cats and small dogs, while the low dose/kg is recommended for large dogs.
You can administer the solution into the cheek pouch of the patient using a 50ml syringe with a catheter tip, and allow the patient to swallow it in its own time. It is important to not extend the animal’s neck, or to administer the liquid at a rate that is too great for it to be able to drink comfortably.
Make sure you give the patient an opportunity to stop drinking and take a breath. If the oesophagus is not to be included in the study, or if you are administering the contrast material to a cat that is fractious, then an oesophageal tube may be used to administer the barium.
If sedation is required, acetylpromazine is a useful sedative, as it doesn’t significantly alter gastrointestinal function. The use of atropine, ketamine, and barbiturates will depress gastrointestinal motility, and are not recommended in dogs. Ketamine/diazepam is useful for feline sedation.