Objective—To provide a detailed anatomic description of the thorax in clinically normal dogs by means of computed tomography.
Animals—4 clinically normal adult German Shepherd Dogs weighing 28 to 37 kg.
Procedure—Dogs were anesthetized and positioned in ventral recumbency for computed tomographic (CT) examination of the thorax. A CT image from the thoracic inlet to the diaphragm was made by use of a third-generation scanner with a slice thickness of 5 mm. Individual images were reviewed by use of soft tissue (window width, 250 Hounsfield units; window level, 35 Hounsfield units) and lung (window width, 1,000 Hounsfield units; window level, –690 Hounsfield units) settings. One dog, weighing 28 kg, was euthanatized, bound on a wooden frame in the same position as used for CT examination, and frozen at –14oC until solid. By use of an electric band saw, the frozen thorax was sectioned at 10-mm-thick intervals. Slab sections were immediately cleaned, photographed, and compared with corresponding CT images.
Results—Anatomic sections were studied, and identified anatomic structures were matched with structures on corresponding CT images. Except for some blood vessels and details of the heart, most of the bony and soft tissue structures of the thorax discerned on anatomic slices could be found on matched CT images.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Because CT images provide detailed information on most structures of the canine thorax, results of our study could be used as a guide for evaluation of CT images of the thorax of dogs with thoracic diseases. (Am J Vet Res 2005;66:512–524)