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Radiographic signs of renal disease in rabbits
  1. F. Harcourt-Brown, BVSc, FRCVS1
  1. 1 30 Crab Lane, Bilton, Harrogate, North Yorkshire HG1 3BE


The radiological features of 65 rabbits with suspected renal disease are reviewed. The radiological features included a generalised increase in bone opacity (osteosclerosis), renomegaly, nephroliths, ureteroliths and soft tissue mineralisation. One or more of these changes were present on radiographs of 57 of the 65 rabbits. Renal disease was suspected because of the clinical signs and the presence of kidney stones and/or high blood concentrations of urea and creatinine. Significant renal disease was confirmed in 14 cases that were examined postmortem. Blood urea and creatinine concentrations were measured in 47 cases but not all the rabbits had high levels of both. Blood calcium concentration was high in 33 of the 38 rabbits in which it was measured. Serum phosphate was high in 17 and low in five of 34 rabbits in which it was measured. Hyperphosphataemia was associated with generalised osteosclerosis and aortic calcification. Rabbits with osteosclerosis were thin, depressed and unwilling to move. Thirty-eight of 41 rabbits that were tested were seropositive for antibodies to Encephalitozoon cuniculi. Histological lesions suggestive of E cuniculi infection were found in all 13 cases that were examined postmortem, although the organisms were visible in only one case.

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