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Endoscopy

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Abstract

Endoscopy has been under-utilized in rabbits for many years, despite their popularity as pets. Recently, the usefulness of endoscopy has been recognized and a variety of papers concerning the applications of clinical endoscopy in the companion rabbit can be found. This chapter considers patient evaluation; anaesthetic considerations; equipment; operator positioning; endoscopic examination of the ear; endoscope-guided endotracheal intubation; rhinoscopy; tracheobronchoscopy; laparoscopy; and thoracoscopy.

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Figures

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10.1 An endoscopic view of an inflamed ear canal containing a wax plug and pus.
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10.2 Endoscopic views of the nose. Drawn by S.J. Elmhurst BA Hons (www.livingart.org.uk) and reproduced with her permission. Endoscopic views of the throat. Drawn by S.J. Elmhurst BA Hons (www.livingart.org.uk) and reproduced with her permission. Endoscopic views of the trachea. Drawn by S.J. Elmhurst BA Hons (www.livingart.org.uk) and reproduced with her permission.
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10.3 There are three meatuses in the nasal cavity: dorsal, middle and ventral. The endoscope needs to be directed into the middle meatus because the dorsal and ventral meatuses are blind-ended. In order to explore the delicate nose of smaller rabbits a fine scope (1.9 mm) with built-in sheath is advisable. Some bleeding is to be expected. Foreign bodies, chronic infections and complications from odontogenic abscesses are common findings in this region. Drawn by S.J. Elmhurst BA Hons (www.livingart.org.uk) and reproduced with her permission.
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10.4 Tooth fragment in the maxillary sinus. The sinuses can be explored endoscopically after trephining a hole through the bone.
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10.5 Tracheoscopy. Using a rigid endoscope of appropriate size, with some care and attention the rabbit trachea can be explored down to the bronchial bifurcation. The normal tracheal mucosa is a bright red colour, which can be confused with inflammation. Tracheal stenosis and obstruction cause severe respiratory distress and it is mandatory to provide extra oxygen to the rabbit during the whole procedure.
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10.6 Endoscopic examination of the vagina is straightforward. The openings of the urethra separate the vaginal vestibulum and the long soft uterine vagina. In this image a mass can be seen in the vaginal wall. Although ultrasonography is more frequently used to diagnose uterine diseases in does, hysteroscopy allows the surgeon to obtain biopsy samples of pathological tissue before surgery and to obtain a more precise prognosis.
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10.7 In male and female rabbits, the urethra is very elastic and easily allows the passage of the endoscope. This may be the only way to retrieve stones lodged in the pelvic stretch of the urethra. Biopsy samples of bladder mucosa can be taken in a relatively non-invasive way.
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10.8 Endoscopic views of the cervix. Drawn by S.J. Elmhurst BA Hons (www.livingart.org.uk) and reproduced with her permission. Endoscopic views of the bladder and rectum. Drawn by S.J. Elmhurst BA Hons (www.livingart.org.uk) and reproduced with her permission.
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10.9 Rectal papillomatosis is quite common in rabbits and colonoscopy can help to locate masses not immediately evident on simple evagination of rectal mucosa. These masses can be excised using traditional surgery, cryosurgery or surgical laser (see Chapter 18).

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