Computed tomography (CT) and ultrasound are commonly used in human healthcare – but did you know that crocodilians can have them, too?
Our resident crocodilians Yeung Yeung and Jo have joined a ground-breaking scientific study that utilises these techniques to assess their health
Yeung Yeung, a critically endangered Chinese alligator, and Jo, a spectacled caiman, are residents at our Wildlife Walkthrough enclosures. They undergo annual vet check-ups, but their thick bony scales obscure the full view of their internal organs, making imaging tricky. So we are thrilled to be collaborating with City University of Hong Kong (CityU) @Aquatic Animal Virtopsy Lab 海洋動物影像解剖研究組and @香港海洋公園 Ocean Park Hong Kong on an exciting research study that aims to develop imaging techniques to improve veterinary knowledge and care of captive crocodilians.
This study is using CT -- computed tomography -- scanning to map out the internal organs of live crocodilians, followed by B-mode ultrasound and fusion imaging (synchronising ultrasonograms with CT images) to document the imaging anatomy precisely to aid clinical diagnosis, for the first time worldwide.
The CT and ultrasound findings show Yeung Yeung to be in good health, though she’s carrying a little excess body fat. The good news is there are multiple ovarian follicles in her body: a sign of reproductive activity. Jo, whom we thought was overweight, is not – her large belly is instead full of ovarian follicles. She is also healthy and has an appropriate amount of body fat. With this new information, we are able to adjust our husbandry practices and tailor medical checks to better care for Yeung Yeung and Jo.
You can visit them in the Wildlife Walkthrough during warmer months when they enjoy sunbathing.