Lapis ISSN 2398-2969

Radiography: thorax

Contributor(s): Vetstream Ltd, Fraser McConnell, Jenna Richardson

Introduction

  • The rabbit thorax can be difficult to interpret due to the relatively small lung field proportional to the size of the rabbit.
  • Radiography of the thorax can be problematical due to difficulties eliminating movement blur resulting from breathing.
  • High output (high mA capability) X-ray machines enable exposure times to be minimized, reducing the risk of movement blur.
  • If the machine cannot achieve sufficiently low exposure times, general anesthesia may be required.

Under anesthesia respiration can be interrupted by gentle pressure on the rebreathing bag, eliminating movement blur.

  • Inflation of the lungs in this way can make small soft tissue opacities more visible.
  • A reasonably high kV, along with high mA capability, will facilitate the use of shorter exposure times and avoid excessive image contrast.
  • Close collimation of the primary beam should be practiced at all times.
  • The objective is to produce a radiograph which includes the whole area of interest, is correctly exposed and developed, and is free from movement blur and artifacts.
  • The film should be clearly marked with the anatomical marker, the patient's identification, the date and the name of the hospital or practice.

Print-off the Owner factsheetXray and ultrasound   Xray and Ultrasound  to give to your clients.

Uses

  • In respiratory tract disease for demonstration of lung pathology, eg lung abscess   Lung: abscess lateral radiograph  , pneumonia   Lung: pneumonia DV radiograph  , neoplasia, bronchitis.
  • Assessment of cardiac size and shape.
  • Examination of esophagus.
  • Demonstration of pleural space pathology.
  • Demonstration of mediastinal pathology   Thorax: cranial mediastinal mass DV radiograph    Thorax: cranial mediastinal mass lateral radiograph  .
  • Distal tracheal pathology, eg stricture   Trachea: stricture  , thymic tumors.
  • Detection of fractured ribs   Rib: fracture lateral radiograph  , or other rib pathology.
  • Confirmation of diaphragmatic herniation, may require barium study to aid in the confirmation of diagnosis.

Advantages

  • Non-invasive, valuable diagnostic tool.
  • Certain views able to be performed conscious in quiet or sick animals.
  • Can be performed under sedation when multiple, in depth, views are required.
  • Relatively quick and simple where general anesthesia is not required.

Disadvantages

Placing dyspneic animals in dorsal or lateral recumbency can compromise respiration in some cases.

Struggling with a non-compliant, eg under-sedated, patient may be detrimental to its condition.

Requirements

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Preparation

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Procedure

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Aftercare

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Outcomes

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Further Reading

Publications

Refereed papers

  • Recent references fromPubMed.
  • Gibbs C & Hinton M H (1981)Radiological examination of the rabbit. 1. The head, thorax and vertebral column.JSAP22, 687-703.

Other sources of information

  • Carpenter J W (2012) Exotic Animal Formulary.4th edn. Elsevier, Saunders, Missouri.
  • Queensberry K E & Carpenter J W (2012)Ferrets, Rabbits and Rodents, Clinical Medicine and Surgery.3rd edn. Elsevier Saunders, Missouri.
  • Meredith A & Flecknell P (2006)BSAVA Manual of Rabbit Medicine and Surgery.2nd edn. BSAVA, Gloucester.


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