Evaluation of real-time near-infrared fluorescence (NIRF) quantification to detect malignant lesions in the canine liver via laparotomy or laparoscopy

The University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine is currently recruiting dogs diagnosed with liver disease and nodules in the liver for a clinical research trial. The purpose of this trial is to evaluate the use of near-infrared fluorescence imaging to identify cancerous liver nodules during surgery.

Enrollment Status: Enrollment CLOSED

  • Inclusion Criteria: Any dog diagnosed with liver disease and liver nodules and is currently undergoing or scheduled to receive standard of care diagnostics and treatment (abdominal ultrasound, CT scan, surgery, etc.)
  • Treatment: Standard liver surgery will be performed to biopsy liver nodules or remove a tumor. As part of the study, patients will be hospitalized for 24 hours prior to surgery and will receive an intravenous injection of dye (ICG) 12 hours or 24 hours before the surgery. During surgery, a special camera that emits near-infrared (NIR) light will be used to highlight the liver nodules. The way that the liver nodules light up will be recorded and compared to our surgery findings, CT findings, ultrasound findings and histopathology (looking at the liver nodules under the microscope) to determine if the dye can help differentiate between benign and cancerous nodules.
  • Cost: The study will cover the cost of the dye and the NIRF. You will still be responsible for the standard of care diagnostics: CT scan of the abdomen, the camera system, bloodwork, surgery, and post-operative hospitalization. The costs of this study are not different from the usual costs of diagnosing a liver nodule.
  • Contact: Contact Dr. Judith Bertran at judith@ufl.edu, or complete the Study Interest Form to see if your dog qualifies.
  • PI: Judith Bertran

Background: Liver growths (nodules) are frequently seen in dogs and they can form as a result of different diseases. Liver nodules can be either malignant (cancerous) or benign (non-cancerous), but it is often impossible to differentiate between the two just by looking at the nodules during surgery. Although we have non-invasive imaging techniques that can provide information about these nodules (like CT or ultrasound), they cannot determine if they are cancerous or benign. Moreover, there are also nodules that we cannot see with CT and ultrasound, making them difficult to treat effectively. This has an impact on how to treat the growths, provide an accurate prognosis as well as on follow-up care. Therefore, an imaging technique that can help determine in the operating room if nodules are malignant or benign before taking a biopsy would be important. Also, a technique that can help identify small or difficult to detect liver nodules will help provide the best treatment during surgery.


As part of both the Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences and the Academic Health Center, Veterinary Medicine is dedicated to advancing animal, human and environmental health through teaching, research, extension and patient care.


Our Hospitals

Need animal care? Visit the UF Small Animal and Large Animal Hospitals. From dogs, cats, birds and exotics to horses, cattle, llamas, pigs and many other large farm or food animals, our experienced veterinarian staff is ready to assist.