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Rodents: diagnostic imaging

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Abstract

Diagnostic imaging of rodents presents several technical challenges related to their small body size, rapid respiratory rate, reluctance to accept mechanical restraint and unusual conformation. None of these factors is insurmountable but they do necessitate modification of the radiographic imaging techniques and principles of interpretation used for dogs and cats. The chapter details radiographic technique and instrumentation such as Anaesthesia and sedation; Digital radiographic systems; Computed tomography and magnetic resonance imaging; Ultrasonography. It examines radiographic interpretation of the thorax, abdomen and musculoskeleta.

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Figures

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3.1 Patient motion in a 2-year-old male hamster. The skull and forelimbs in this lateral radiograph are blurred from patient motion during the exposure.
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3.2 Obesity in a 2-year-old male rat: DV and lateral whole body views. There is increased opacity in the thorax due to fat accumulation in the cranial mediastinum. There are also fat deposits subcutaneously and within the abdomen.
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3.3 Fractured clavicle in an immature chinchilla: VD and lateral thoracic views. The left clavicle was acutely fractured and the fracture is best seen on the lateral view.
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3.4 Pneumonia in a 1-year-old female guinea pig: VD and lateral thoracic views. Bacterial pneumonia produced severe consolidation of the right cranial and middle lung lobes and there is compensatory hyperinflation of the left lung. Therapy was partially successful and the changes persisted for over one year, until the patient was eventually euthanased.
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3.5 Mediastinal lymphoma in a 1½-year-old male neutered rat. DV and lateral thoracic radiographs show a large mediastinal mass that is displacing the cardiac silhouette caudally and the trachea to the left. This mass was diagnosed as a T-cell lymphoma by ultrassound-guided fine-needle aspirate.
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3.6 Dilated cardiomyopathy in a 2½-year-old male guinea pig: VD and lateral thoracic views. Dilated cardiomyopathy was diagnosed on an echocardiogram. The enlargement of the cervical and sternal soft tissues is due to oedema. The cardiac silhouette is best evaluated on the ventrodorsal radiograph.
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3.7 Normal abdomen in a 4-year-old male chinchilla: lateral and VD views. The full stomach and caecum obscure the rest of the abdominal organs.
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3.8 Normal abdomen in a 4-year-old male guinea pig: VD and lateral views. The liver occupies the space between the stomach and the diaphragm, but the borders are not visible.
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3.9 Normal abdomen in a 1-year-old male rat: lateral and VD views. The kidneys are superimposed on portions of the gastrointestinal tract.
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3.10 Vaginal and urinary bladder calculi in an adult female guinea pig: lateral and VD abdominal views. Multiple urinary bladder calculi are present; the calculus caudal to the pelvis is in the vagina. It is imperative to include the perineal region in radiographs when evaluating the urinary tract.
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3.11 Progressive development of urinary calculi in an adult male guinea pig. Three lateral views demonstrate: a single cystic calculus on admission; two calculi present 3 months later; and 8 months later there are renal and ureteral calculi, but the urinary bladder calculi previously seen had been passed spontaneously.
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3.12 Triple pregnancy in an adult female guinea pig: VD and lateral abdominal views. The patient was presented for dystocia. The large size of the fetuses indicated that a Caesarean operation was required. Three viable fetuses were delivered.
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3.13 Fetal demise in an adult female guinea pig: VD and lateral abdominal views. The partially ossified and distorted fetus is not viable.
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3.14 Ovarian cyst in a 4-year-old female guinea pig. Gastric and intestinal gas distention are present on survey radiographs and there is an ill-defined right-sided soft tissue mass effect. The lateral study suggests it is ventral in origin and could be originating from the spleen. Abdominal ultrasonography identified a fluid-filled right ovarian cyst, which was drained under ultrasound guidance.
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3.15 Acute fracture in a 17-week-old female chinchilla. There is a comminuted fracture of the tibia with cranial displacement. Small patient size requires low kVp technique for optimal evaluation. The small calcific opacities superimposed on the stifles are normal. Their origin has not been documented.
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3.16 Normal skull in a 4-year-old male guinea pig. The occlusal surfaces are even and straight on the oblique and rostrocaudal projections. The tooth roots do not distort the cortex of the mandible or the maxilla.
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3.17 Dental malocclusion in a 4-year-old female chinchilla. Severe molar and premolar malocclusion is present. Additional information regarding the severity could be obtained if the mouth was slightly opened during the radiographic examination. Note the extensive development and symmetry of tympanic bullae on the DV view.
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3.18 Otitis media in a 1-year-old male guinea pig. On these 1 mm CT images viewed with bone window and edge enhancement: both tympanic bullae are thickened and filled with soft tissue and mineral attenuating material; the ear canals are also mineralized. Compare these to the normal bullae .
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3.19 Increased intestinal gas in an adult female guinea pig: lateral abdominal view. Intestinal gas is superimposed on the spine and can simulate lytic spinal lesions. The left femur was previously amputated because of trauma.

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