The main aim of this study was to investigate the impact of pelleted diet of different mineral composition on the sonographic and CT appearance of kidneys in degus (Octodon degus). A total of 35 animals were randomly divided into five groups, fed diets containing different calcium and phosphorus contents (13.5 g/kg calcium and 6.3 g/kg phosphorus, or 9.1 g/kg calcium and 9.5 g/kg phosphorus) and given different amounts of exposure to UV light. Endoscopic examination of the oral cavity as well as renal ultrasonography and CT was performed four times at four-month intervals throughout the study. After 14 months of feeding an experimental diet, all degus were euthanased and subsequently all kidneys were collected for histopathological examination. Animals fed a diet with high dietary phosphate and improper calcium to phosphorus ratio showed severe nephrocalcinosis. Ultrasonographic and CT kidney abnormalities presented as hyperechogenicity and hyperdensity (interpreted as nephrocalcinosis), respectively. The most striking changes were seen at the corticomedullary zone. Ultrasonography and CT correlated in all cases with histopathological findings. Dental disease developed quickly in groups fed diets with an improper calcium and phosphorus content, with obvious apical and coronal elongation of all the teeth. A possible influence of UV light access could not be proved in this study.
- Accepted November 9, 2011.
- British Veterinary Association
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Provenance not commissioned; externally peer reviewed