We have developed an x-ray imaging system for in vivo four-dimensional computed tomography (4DCT) of small animals for pre-clinical lung investigations. Our customized laboratory facility is capable of high resolution in vivo imaging at high frame rates. Characterization using phantoms demonstrate a spatial resolution of slightly below 50 μm at imaging rates of 30 Hz, and the ability to quantify material density differences of at least 3%. We benchmark our system against existing small animal pre-clinical CT scanners using a quality factor that combines spatial resolution, image noise, dose and scan time. In vivo 4DCT images obtained on our system demonstrate resolution of important features such as blood vessels and small airways, of which the smallest discernible were measured as 55-60 μm in cross section. Quantitative analysis of the images demonstrate regional differences in ventilation between injured and healthy lungs.