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ENDOSCOPY provides a minimally invasive method for diagnostic sampling (eg, for biopsy, cytology or cultures) and visual examination of internal structures. This diagnostic modality is especially advantageous in small exotic mammals, such as rats, where disease may progress with few to no observable clinical signs. Endoscopic techniques of the urogenital tract in small exotic mammals are uncommonly described, and there are no descriptions of normal or abnormal urogenital findings in the rat in the referred literature. Regardless, the use of appropriate endoscopic equipment and knowledge of the anatomical differences between small exotic mammal species are imperative before endoscopic examination of the urogenital tract.
A 16-month-old sexually intact non-breeding female brown fancy rat (Rattus norvegicus) weighing 355 g presented for an elective ovariohysterectomy as well as for evaluation of a mammary mass noted 10 days before presentation. The rat had no history of previous medical problems and the owner noted no other abnormalities. At presentation, the rat was bright and alert with a normal heart and respiratory rate. A firm, round, subcutaneous mass measuring 2 cm × 2 cm × 1.3 cm was located in the left inguinal region associated with the mammary gland. No other abnormalities were detected on physical examination. A benign mammary fibroadenoma was suspected since most mammary tumours of rats are benign (Bennett and Mullen 2004). Excisional biopsy of the mass was recommended in combination with the elective ovariohysterectomy.
Under general anaesthesia in dorsal recumbency, mild to moderate haemorrhage was observed from the vaginal orifice immediately after making a 2 cm ventral midline skin incision. Surgery was aborted and the skin incision closed routinely (Bennett …