RATIONALE AND OBJECTIVES. The diagnostic usefulness of gray-scale sonography was evaluated in a canine model of aminoglycoside-induced nephrotoxicosis. METHODS. Sonography was performed before and during the onset and progression of nephrotoxicosis induced by administration of a toxic dosage of gentamicin. Subjective visualization of increased renal cortex echogenicity (IRCE) was objectified with digital image analysis methods. Results of both subjective and objective evaluation were correlated with clinicopathologic tests and renal cortex biopsy obtained concurrently. RESULTS. Subjective visualization of IRCE was associated with significant nephrotoxicosis and was superior to serum creatinine elevation in nephrotoxicity detection. Objective detection of IRCE improved nephrotoxicity detection sensitivity to that of increased urine enzymuria. CONCLUSIONS. Based on the above results, subjective visualization of IRCE in patients with aminoglycoside-induced nephrotoxicity may occur before azotemia and is suggestive of significant renal dysfunction; application of digital image analysis methods may lead to earlier sonographic recognition of nephrotoxicity.