Computed tomography

Animals do not normally tell us when they are sick or what bothers them. Since 2010, with the aid of the new Toshiba Aquilon CX CT-scanner acquired by IZW with support from the German Federal Government’s Economic Stimulus Package II, we can now conduct virtual tours inside the animals or create hyperaccurate 3-D models of the body parts of interest in search of the problem. The scanner, fitted with a table capable of supporting patients of up to 300 kg, can capture the full body of such large animals in about 30 seconds, or a pet dog or cat in 10 to 15 seconds, with a resolution of 0.25 mm. The CT is thus currently the best in the veterinary world. The computed tomography centre at the IZW serves as a referral centre providing service for zoos and pet owners of the general public. E.g., the CT was used by scientists at IZW and their collaborators to model the head and brain of the famous polar bear Knut following his sudden death, and to identify a highly obscure fracture in a small process of the central tarsal bone of a chronically lame working dog. The CT centre has so far conducted scans of over 80 animal species ranging from the tiny 20-30g naked mole-rat and lesser noctule bat to the arapaima, a 2m freshwater air-breathing fish from South America, and the 300kg polar bear at the limit carrying capacity of the machine.


Guido Fritsch

Phone: 0049 (0)30 5168 434

Juliane Kühne

Phone: 0049 (0)30 5168 432

Selected publications

Galateanu G, Hermes R, Saragusty J, Göritz F, Potier R, et al. (2014): Rhinoceros feet step out of a rule-of-thumb: A wildlife imaging pioneering approach of synchronized computed tomography-digital radiography. PLoS ONE 9: e100415. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0100415.

Galateanu G, Hildebrandt TB, Maillot A, Etienne P, Potier R, et al. (2013): One small step for rhinos, one giant leap for wildlife management- imaging diagnosis of bone pathology in distal limb. PLoS ONE 8: e68493. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0068493.

Haschke G, Szentiks CA, Galateanu G, Häfner M (2013): Klinische, pathologisch-anatomische, thermographische und radiologische Befunde bei einer Giraffe mit chronischer Arthritis. Zoolog Garten 82: 259-266. doi:10.1016/j.zoolgart.2014.01.002.

Galateanu G, Apelt D, Aizenberg I, Saragusty J, Hildebrandt TB (2013): Canine tarsal architecture as revealed by high-resolution computed tomography. The Veterinary Journal  196: 374-380. doi:10.1016/j.tvjl.2012.10.027.

Galateanu G, Aizenberg I, Hildebrandt TB, Apelt D (2011): Computed tomographic demonstration of central tarsal bone plantar process occult fracture. Vet Rec 169: 442. doi:10.1136/vr.d4760.

Anonymous (2001) Death of a polar bear. Science 332: 157.

Hutchinson JR, Delmer C, Miller CE, Hildebrandt T, Pitsillides AA, Boyde A (2011) From flat foot to fat foot: Structure, ontogeny, function, and evolution of elephant "sixth toes". Science 334: 1699-1703.

Frey R, Volodin I, Volodina E, Carranza J, Torres-Porras J (2012) Vocal anatomy, tongue protrusion behaviour and the acoustics of rutting roars in free-ranging Iberian red deer stags (Cervus elaphus hispanicus). Journal of Anatomy 220: 271-292.

Galateanu G, Aizenberg I, Hildebrandt TB, Apelt D (2011) Computed tomographic demonstration of central tarsal bone plantar process occult fracture. The Veterinary Record 169: 442.