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Year : 2022  |  Volume : 29  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 8-14

Contrast radiographic anatomy of the gastrointestinal tract of white-bellied pangolin

1 Department of Veterinary Surgery and Radiology, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Ibadan, Nigeria
2 Department of Veterinary Pathobiology, School of Veterinary Medicine, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, Ghana
3 Department of Veterinary Pathology, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Ibadan, Nigeria
4 Department of Veterinary Medicine, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Ibadan, Nigeria
5 Department of Zoology, Faculty of Science, University of Ibadan, Nigeria

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Adenike O Olatunji-Akioye
Department of Veterinary Surgery and Radiology, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Ibadan, Ibadan
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/wajr.wajr_36_21

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Context: Pangolins are scaly ant-eating placental mammals threatened with extinction due to over-exploitation and poaching. Aggressive protection by conservationists is moderately successful due to scanty information regarding their physiology. Aims: Contrast radiography, a diagnostic technique for investigating gastrointestinal diseases may assist conservation efforts to improve the survival of these animals. Subjects and Methods: Eight rescued white-bellied pangolins of different ages, sexes, and weights were evaluated. Four live ones; with a mean weight of 1.52 ± 0.3 kg were radiographed and measurements taken by Digimizer. Four others had an opportunistic necropsy done and gross measurements of the gastrointestinal tract. Sedation with Ketamine caused uncurling, facilitated handling, and barium was administered orally. Serial dorso-ventral and lateral radiographs, physiological parameters, gastrointestinal dimensions, and contrast images were acquired. Results: The oral cavity was oval-shaped with no teeth; the long thin tongue runs beside the esophagus and contrast within the stomach 0 min postadmin lends credence to the length of the tongue just proximal to the stomach at the 8th thoracic rib. The plain radiograph revealed stones within the stomach at the 10th thoracic rib. The esophageal length, stomach length, and width radiographically, were 201.38 ± 1.70, 95.42 ± 1.9, and 53.02 ± 16.70 mm while the gross gastric length, diameter, and intestinal length were 7.1 ± 0.12, 13.3 ± 0.4, and 220.21 ± 4.03 cm, respectively. The mean contrast transit time was 1.34 ± 0.65 h-stomach, 0.48 ± 0.48 h-small intestines, and 10.00 ± 5.76 h-large intestines. Compared to mean transit times in dogs, it is longer but shorter when the transit times are compared to mean transit times in rats. Conclusion: Average transit time of the digestive tract is consistent with the reported average in dogs (3 ± 1.5 h). Implications for feeding and gut health in pangolins can assist in understanding critical care and boost conservation efforts.

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