Heart Size Measurement in the Rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus) by Vertebral Scale System

Aim: A change in the size of the heart is usually connected with cardiac and pericardial disorders. As a result, determining the extent and severity of a cardiac or pericardial problem requires a radiographic assessment of heart size. Rabbits’ value as a protein source and an animal model for numerous biological studies and in education is well known and has been acknowledged. The goal of this study was to provide reference values for normal New Zealand White (NZW) rabbit vertebral heart size (VHS). The heart sizes of ten clinically normal NZW rabbits (5 females, 5 males) were investigated. Each research animal had a right lateral thorax radiograph taken. The cardiac long axis (LA) was measured in centimetres in each radiograph, then transferred onto the thoracic vertebrae from T4 and the result read in vertebral lengths. The cardiac short axis (SA) was also converted to thoracic vertebral lengths. The VHS was then calculated by multiplying the LA and SA thoracic vertebral lengths together. The mean plus or minus standard error of the mean (MSEM) VHS was 8.50.3 vertebrae, with no significant difference between male and female VHS averages.

Conclusion: VHS is a clinically useful tool for determining the size of the heart that is both objective and simple to use.

Author (S) Details

R. O. Ukaha
Department of Veterinary Surgery & Theriogenology, College of Veterinary Medicine, Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike, Abia State, Nigeria.

J. I. Iloh
Department of Veterinary Surgery & Radiology, College of Veterinary Medicine, Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike, Abia State, Nigeria.

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