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Radiographic appearance of the thorax of clinically normal alpaca crias

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  • 1 Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48864
  • | 2 Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Washington State University, Pullman, WA 99164
  • | 3 Department of Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS 66506.

Abstract

Objective—To quantitatively and qualitatively assess the radiographic appearance of the thorax of clinically normal alpaca crias.

Animals—21 clinically normal alpaca crias.

Procedures—Left-right lateral (LR), right-left lateral (RL), dorsoventral (DV), and ventrodorsal (VD) projections of the thorax were acquired. To account for differences in cria size, measurements of thoracic structures were compared with other anatomic landmarks.

Results—Mean ± SD vertebral heart scale was 9.36 ± 0.65 for LR projections, 9.36 ± 0.59 for RL projections, 8.21 ± 0.51 for DV projections, and 8.65 ± 0.57 for VD projections. Dimensions of the heart were compared with the length of the T3 through T5 vertebral bodies, third to fifth rib distance, and thoracic height and width, which provided additional methods of cardiac evaluation. For RL projections, mean ratio of the right cranial pulmonary artery diameter to the third rib width was 0.41 ± 0.10 and mean ratio of the right cranial pulmonary vein to the third rib width was 0.44 ± 0.10. Caudal lobar pulmonary vessels and the caudal vena cava were difficult to quantitatively assess on DV or VD projections. On lateral projections, the trachea was increased in diameter at the origin of the right cranial lobar bronchus. No qualitative differences were found between LR and RL radiographs. The lungs were generally better inflated on VD projections, with more separation of the heart and diaphragm.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Establishment of radiographic values for alpaca crias should prove useful in assessment of thoracic disease in this species.

Contributor Notes

Presented in abstract form at the American College of Veterinary Radiology Annual Meeting, Chicago, December 2002.

Address correspondence to Dr. Nelson (nelso329@cvm.msu.edu).