Gastrointestinal (GI) obstruction in rabbits is common due to the peculiarities of their gastrointestinal tract. This condition usually has an acute progression before the rabbit succumbs or recovers. Due to the acute nature of gastrointestinal obstruction in rabbits, early detection is important. Contrast radiography and ultrasonography are two non-invasive imaging procedures that can be used to detect underlying disease conditions and lesions. This study is designed to assess how these imaging procedures identify GI disturbance and obstruction and can be an aid to early medical intervention. Five male rabbits reared in single battery cages had their diet altered: they were given digestible fiber, starch and water per day to simulate GI obstruction. They were given a barium meal after being sedated and their GI tracts were imaged radiographically and ultrasonographically. The rabbits presented radiographic evidence of gastric dilatation, pooling of the barium meal in the stomach and distention of the small and large intestines with gas. Ultrasonographic features of gas distended stomachs and hyperechoic outlining of the small intestinal mucosa peculiar to GI disturbance were observed. Both imaging techniques were useful in diagnosing GI obstruction and will be useful in early diagnosis and consequent therapy. It can reduce mortality in rabbits. However, contrast radiography is possibly an easier tool to use.
Key words: Gastrointestinal obstruction, contrast radiography, ultrasonography, rabbits.
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