Veterinary Teaching Hospital, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA, USA
Interventional radiology (IR) involves the use of contemporary imaging modalities such as fluoroscopy to selectively access different structures in order to deliver materials for therapeutic purposes. For example, interventional radiology permits us to use minimally invasive techniques to stop hemorrhage, embolize the blood supply to tumors or vascular malformations, deliver medications (such as chemotherapy) locally and regionally when system therapy is not working or results in inadequate local concentrations, stent open malignant obstructions of the respiratory, gastrointestinal, cardiovascular, and urogenital systems, etc.
These techniques are replacing more invasive procedures in both human and veterinary medicine in order to reduce morbidity and mortality rates in our patients. In addition, these procedures offer alternatives when conventional therapies have failed, are declined, or are not indicated due to various other co-morbidities. The very small incisions and ability to use natural orifices with interventional radiology procedures can be particularly useful in animals that traumatize their incisions or in environments in which wound complications or the animal patients themselves would be difficult to manage. These techniques could have broad therapeutic potential in zoo and exotic animals of all shapes and sizes.
Case examples (with particular emphasis on techniques that have already been performed in ferrets, horses, goats, pigs, and fish) using a body systems approach and describing the equipment (guidewires, catheters, sheaths, and stents) used are presented.