Basic radiography

image of Basic radiography
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Radiography is one of the most commonly used, noninvasive and direct diagnostic tools in veterinary medicine. Furthermore, most small animal practices already have an X-ray machine, and usually this works well for birds. This chapter provides advice on performing radiographic procedures and interpreting results, with example views of healthy birds and some common presentations.

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18.1 Portable X-ray equipment may be a useful addition to the avian clinician’s toolkit. Radiograph of the head and the whole body of a Green-winged Macaw taken with portable X-ray equipment.
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18.2 Use of a Plexiglas board for positioning a medium-sized parrot.
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18.3 Positioning of an African Grey Parrot for a ventrodorsal radiograph. Radiology gloves and foot straps are utilized. To achieve good positioning for the laterolateral view, it is best to put something of the right thickness between the wings; this will prevent rotation of the body. Final positioning for the laterolateral radiograph.
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18.4 For the smallest species, such as Budgerigars, it is better to use tape, instead of a heavy object to aid positioning. Excessive tension on the wings can cause impediment to lateral excursions of the body wall, compromising respiration. Budgerigar placed in a laterolateral position using tape.
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18.5 Blue and Gold Macaw. Ventrodorsal view and with organs highlighted. Prov. = proventriculus; Ventr. = ventriculus.
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18.6 Blue and Gold Macaw. Laterolateral view of a bird with splenomegaly. View with organs highlighted. Note the enlarged spleen. Prov. = proventriculus; Ventr. = ventriculus.
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18.7 Saker Falcon. Ventrodorsal view and with organs highlighted. Prov. = proventriculus; Ventr. = ventriculus.
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18.8 Saker Falcon. Laterolateral view of a bird with splenomegaly. View with organs highlighted. Note the enlarged spleen. Prov. = proventriculus; Ventr. = ventriculus.
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18.9 The head of a Blue and Gold Macaw. Ventrodorsal and laterolateral views.
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18.10 An anaesthetized Green-winged Macaw positioned for a ventrodorsal radiograph of the head. A small strap can be tied to the upper beak, in order to extend it.
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18.11 A lovebird with an inflammatory process of the maxillary bones. Ventrodorsal and laterolateral views. The owner refused further investigation and the aetiology remains unknown.
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18.12 Blue and Gold Macaw with a radiodense mass in the sinuses (arrowed). Ventrodorsal and laterolateral views. Compare with Figure 18.9 , which shows a healthy head of a Blue and Gold Macaw.
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18.13 Dusky-headed Conure with severe scoliosis. Yellow-naped Amazon with severe ventral deviation of the last portion of the spinal column (circled). These lesions often have a traumatic origin.
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18.14 The pectoral girdle of a Yellow-fronted Amazon.
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18.15 The normal wing of a Brown Wood Owl. Mediolateral and caudocranial views.
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18.16 Comparison between the avian and bat wing; an example of convergent evolution. While birds developed a strong ulna to support the power of the secondary remiges that are intimately connected to the ulnar periosteum, bats have a thicker radius, needed to support the large propatagium.
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18.17 Mediolateral view of a Brown Wood Owl with old lesions of the ulna and carpal bones (circled). Although these lesions apparently are not severe, the most distal (white circle) can limit the ability to fly.
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18.18 The wing of a young Eurasian Eagle Owl, in which ossification is not yet complete (circled). Note this is normal for the stage of development.
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18.19 Pelvic girdle of a Harris’ Hawk and a Blue and Gold Macaw.
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18.20 The lower limb bones of a Yellow-fronted Amazon.
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18.21 In order to obtain a clear view of the feet, the tail of this Saker Falcon has been taped away from the field of view.
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18.22 A positioning board can be used to hold the patient in a more physiological position, in this case for obtaining a radiograph of the feet of a Blue-fronted Amazon. The board accommodates the X-ray cassette vertically and the X-ray beam is directed horizontally.
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18.23 Ventrodorsal view of a Crowned Crane with a curved right tibiotarsus. Laterolateral view. Juvenile osteomyelitis was found to be the cause of limited bone growth.
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18.24 Saker Falcon with mild ulcerative pododermatitis (bumblefoot); swelling of the footpad is evident (circled). Proximal view of the legs. The deviation of the right tibiotarsus (red line) does not allow for normal perching. This deviation requires surgical correction.
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18.25 It is important to be aware of species variations such as curved tracheas. This Hill Mynah has a typical curved trachea (circled), but also has severe kyphosis.
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18.26 Snowy Owl with respiratory granulomas (highlighted). Ventrodorsal and laterolateral views. These lesions are indicative of aspergillosis.
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18.27 African Grey Parrot with air sacculitis. The deposits of fibrin over the air sac wall (arrowed) have resulted in an increase in radiodensity.
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18.28 African Grey Parrot with cardiomegaly. The maximum width of the heart should not be more than 61% of the maximum width of the coelomic cavity at this level.
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18.29 Contrast medium evaluation of the gastrointestinal tract of an Eclectus Parrot. Most of the contrast medium was still in the proventriculus and ventriculus after 24 hours. This bird died from polyomavirus disease.
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18.30 Blue and Gold Macaw with a metal foreign body in the ventriculus. Ventrodorsal and laterolateral views. Metallic foreign bodies of this size will not pass the gastric compartment and it is always better to retrieve them with an endoscope, or even via a surgical approach.
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18.31 Red-fronted Macaw with suspected proventricular dilatation disease (PDD). Ventrodorsal and laterolateral views. The arrows denote the dilated gastric compartment. This patient tested positive for avian bornavirus.
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18.32 Umbrella Cockatoo with a dilated proventriculus (arrowed). Ventrodorsal and laterolateral views. This bird was negative for bornavirus (polymerase chain reaction and serology), which may have been due to it being a very recent infection, poor sample collection or a laboratory error; however, not all dilated stomachs are the result of bornaviral infection.
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18.33 The spleen may be identified on laterolateral views (arrowed), as shown in this Blue and Gold Macaw.
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18.34 Highlighted hourglass silhouette, formed by the heart and the liver, in a Blue and Gold Macaw.
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18.35 Kidney tumour (arrowed) in a Superb Parrot.
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18.36 Blue and Gold Macaw with renal mineralization (arrowed). These lesions must also be evaluated with other diagnostic tools, such as a kidney biopsy.
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18.37 Egg-bound Spectacled Owl. Ventrodorsal view. This was a mild case that resolved with calcium, fluid therapy and a warm cage. Laterolateral view. In cases of egg binding, it is always important to take both ventrodorsal and laterolateral views.
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18.38 A tame and trained egg-bound bird, such as this Blue and Gold Macaw, can be easily radiographed on a wooden perch. The presence of a calcified egg is unmistakable.
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18.39 In order to avoid any unnecessary stress to egg-bound birds, with small patients the first radiograph can be taken with the bird in a cardboard box.
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18.40 Contrast study of a Peach-faced Lovebird, 30 minutes after barium gavage. Ventrodorsal and laterolateral views.
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18.41 Contrast study of a Peach-faced Lovebird, 120 minutes after barium gavage. Ventrodorsal and laterolateral views.
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18.42 Computed tomography images of the head of a Moluccan Cockatoo performed using contrast medium. White arrows show brain areas with contrast medium; red arrows show areas without contrast medium. Ventrodorsal and laterolateral views.

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