ISSN 2398-2985      

Abdominal radiography

6guinea pig

Introduction

  • Many exotic animals present to the veterinary clinician for non-specific clinical signs of ill-health, including lethargy, depressed demeanor and anorexia. Abdominal radiography may form part of the initial diagnostic investigation in these cases.
  • Certain presenting conditions such as abdominal pain, abdominal distension and/or masses, vomiting/regurgitation, dysuria, dystocia may suggest abnormalities of the abdominal organs (including but not exclusive of the gastrointestinal, urinary, or reproductive tract), and thus abdominal radiography would be of value in these cases.
  • When clinical history and physical exam may indicate that there are high probabilities that the problem is found in the abdominal cavity, for example when the clinical history indicate pregnancy or foreign body ingestion or when a female guinea pig is presented with bilateral alopecia (which is indicative of ovarian cysts).
Print off the Owner factsheet on X-ray and ultrasound to give to your clients.

Uses

  • Imaging of the abdominal cavity forms part of the veterinarian’s initial diagnostic investigation when disease process(es) pertaining to abdominal viscera are suspected:
    • Gastrointestinal tract including the liver: abdominal radiography is considered an essential part of the diagnostic process of gastrointestinal stasis in guinea pigs Gastrointestinal stasis.
    • Spleen Splenomegaly.
    • Urinary tract: urolithiasis Urolithiasis in a common condition in both male and female guinea pigs and affected animals may present with non-specific clinical signs.
    • Reproductive tract: cystic ovaries Cystic ovarian disease are commonly identified in older female guinea pigs; concurrent disease of the reproductive tract such as uterine leiomyoma Uterine neoplasia may also be present.
    • Identification of gravidity or dystocia:
      • Use of radiography in early mammalian pregnancy can be contraindicated due to effects of radiation on the developing fetus.
      • Confirmation of a gravid uterus in mammals using abdominal radiography may not be possible until mid- to late gestation.
    • Abdominal masses.
    • Radiography is usually a readily accessible and inexpensive imaging modality for most veterinarians and clients, therefore is often the primary imaging modality.

Advantages

  • Non-invasive.
  • Relatively straightforward and affordable procedure, using equipment available to the majority of veterinarians.
  • Readily performed and interpreted compared to ultrasonography or other advanced imaging techniques.
  • Often forms part of the initial database when an animal presents with non-specific signs of disease.

Disadvantages

  • Sedation/anesthesia is generally required unless the animal is in poor clinical status and is minimally responsive and/or obtunded.
  • The extensive gastrointestinal tract of mammalian hindgut fermenters such as the guinea pig which is typically filled with digesta can create a mass effect that may limit serosal detail of other abdominal organs.
  • Relatively insensitive for the confirmation of gravidity early in the mammalian gestation period. Radiography in early mammalian pregnancy can also be contraindicated due to effects of radiation on the developing fetus.
  • Adjunctive diagnostic imaging modalities such as ultrasonography, may be required to fully assess the morphology in the organ of interest, eg hepatomegaly Hepatomegaly, splenomegaly Splenomegaly, cystitis Cystitis, prostatomegaly, confirmation of gravidity early in the gestation period.

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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Prognosis

  • Varies depending on the underlying etiology.

Further Reading

Publications

Refereed papers

  • Recent references from PubMed and VetMedResource.
  • Ludewig E et al (2012) Clinical technique: digital radiography in exotic pets - important practical differences compared with traditional radiography. J Exotic Pet Med 21 (1), 71-79 ResearchGate.

Other sources of information

  • Silverman S & Tell L A (2005) Radiology of Rodents, Rabbits and Ferrets: An Atlas of Normal Anatomy and Positioning. Elsevier Saunders, USA. pp 298.

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