The animal should be prepared for the study by being starved for a minimum of 24 hours. Drinking during this period is allowed.

Any excuse for a poor pun…

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.

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