Common Radiographic Findings in the Rabbit

Key Points

  • Radiography can be challenging in the rabbit.
  • Utilize tabletop technique placing rabbits directly on the film cassette.
  • Use fine or detail-intensifying screens or cassettes to maximize anatomic detail.
  • Lateral films may be taken with only manual restraint in some rabbits, however sedation or general anesthesia may be needed for the best positioning.
  • It is normal to see some gas present within the rabbit gastrointestinal tract.
  • It is also normal for rabbits on a calcium-rich diet (i.e. alfalfa-based) to have calciuria or a significant amount of radiopaque sediment in their urine.
  • Normal chest radiographs can be particularly challenging to evaluate in rabbits. The cranial lung lobes are small and are obscured by a wide mediastinum, and the caudal lung lobes contain pronounced vasculature.

Normal chest radiographs can be challenging to evaluate and easy to over interpret in the rabbit. The thoracic cavity is small relative to the abdomen, and the heart takes up a large portion of the thorax. The cranial border of the heart is less distinct due to the presence of the thymus, which persists throughout the life of the rabbit. The cranial lung lobes are small and are obscured by a wide mediastinum. The caudal lung lobes have a pronounced vasculature. Additionally rapid breathing makes it difficult to obtain an inspiratory film unless the rabbit is anesthetized and intubated . . .

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