X-rays show the art of veterinary science

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(Last Updated On: February 5, 2019)

They look like works of art – and they certainly reveal the inner beauty of their subjects.

These striking x-rays, selected by vets at Paignton Zoo in Devon, demonstrate just how eye-catching veterinary science can be. Some of the x-rays – technically, radiographs – show specific conditions, while others simply reveal the internal beauty of animal biology.

The in-house vet team, based at Paignton Zoo, also covers sister zoo Living Coasts, in nearby Torquay. It consists of head vet Ghislaine Sayers, vets Jo Reynard and Christa van Wessem and vet nurses Kelly Damon and Sonya Gadhia.

The radiograph of the beaded lizard, for example, shows the pattern of small, round scales in exquisite detail. Beaded lizards are venomous and found principally in Mexico and southern Guatemala. This female was having a routine radiograph to check for reproductive activity.

Jo Reynard: “The caiman lizard presented with a distended abdomen, but a check found it to be in good health. The remains of a recent meal can be seen in the animal’s stomach.” Both the seahorse from Living Coasts and the panther chameleon are fascinating and novel animal portraits. With their simple, ethereal power, these images show moments of calm in the busy working day of a zoo vet.

The team was asked to radiograph this four-eyed fish as it had a misshapen back. The image shows scoliosis (curvature of the spine). The fish is currently enjoying a normal life in the aquarium at Living Coasts, and will be monitored for changes in the future. The hingeback tortoise is carrying two large eggs; both were laid naturally, without veterinary intervention.

The x-ray of the baby monkey inside its mother is perhaps the most striking. It was also a moment of high tension. Jo: “The colobus was in labour but not progressing to give birth. We stepped in and the baby was born by Caesarean section – the procedure was life saving for the mum.”

The Whitley Wildlife Conservation Trust is the charity that runs Paignton Zoo, Living Coasts in Torquay and Newquay Zoo in Cornwall. For more information go to www.paigntonzoo.org.uk or ring 01803 697500.

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