Edinburgh Imaging

MSc projects 1718 003

Assessment of a lightweight, portable, hybrid/battery-operated digital radiography (DR) unit for field use in African wild dogs (AWD), & a description of selected thoracic & abdominal radiographic features in this species.

  • Background: Digital radiography (DR) is still in its infancy in the context of free-roaming wildlife medicine. Part (a) of this study assessed the suitability and practicality of a lightweight, battery-operated DR system for field radiography in chemically-immobilised African wild dogs (AWD).  Little has been published about the normal AWD gross or radiographic anatomy. Part (b) of this study compared radiographic features of the thorax and abdomen in AWD to those of domestic dogs to form a basis for interpretation of pathological features. 
  • Methods: (a) 15 immobilised adult AWD (12 males, three females) from eight different free­roaming packs were radiographed opportunistically during a large-scale health survey in Kruger National Park, South Africa. At least two orthogonal radiographic views of the thorax and one lateral view of the abdomen were acquired. DR equipment was assessed for ease of use, practicality and resulting image quality.  (b) Selected radiographic features of the thorax and abdomen were assessed and compared with those of domestic dogs.
  • Results: (a) The portable DR system was practical in the field, and, despite challenges with positioning, was suitable for producing high quality diagnostic images of AWD. (b) Radiographic features of AWD that differed significantly from those of a normal domestic dog population included vertebral heart score (p<0.0001), liver length to Tll (p=0.0081) and L2 (p=0.0006) ratios, and protrusion of the liver beyond the costal arch to Tll/L2 ratios (p<0.0001), giving the impression of hepatomegaly. Preputial, tracheal and diaphragmatic conformational differences are described.
  • Conclusion: The assessed portable battery-operated DR system is well suited to diagnostic imaging in free-roaming AWD. Caution should be exercised in interpreting pathology when comparing radiographic findings to domestic dogs, especially radiographic liver size, and effects of the immobilisation drug protocol should be considered. Abdominal radiographs may be of limited use due to full stomachs obscuring other viscera.
Project type:
  • Data acquisition & analysis
Imaging keywords:
  • Radiography, digital
Application / disease keywords:
  • 17-18