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Melbourne Zoo and Healesville Sanctuary celebrate World Vet Day

28 April 2019

Melbourne Zoo and Healesville Sanctuary are celebrating World Vet Day today (27 April) and for the first time ever, have released a selection of fascinating X-rays featuring some of Australia’s most iconic native animals.

Accompanying the X-rays are the stories behind each animal’s medical care, which highlight the outstanding efforts in animal welfare by the veterinary teams at each zoo.

All animals undergo routine vet checks at Melbourne Zoo and Healesville Sanctuary, allowing the vets to monitor the ongoing health of each animal and to provide pro-active medical support. X-rays are one of the methods that staff utilise to gather important insights into animals’ wellbeing.

Both zoos use digital X-ray systems rather than traditional X-ray film to obtain scans of animals. This provides several benefits, including the ability for vets to see X-rays almost immediately after they have been taken, resulting in greatly reduced anesthesia time. Digital X-rays can also be taken portably by staff whilst out on zoo grounds, enabling larger animals like Giraffes and Elephants to also be assessed.

The captivating selection of X-rays released for World Vet Day feature Australia’s Victorian Koala, Western Grey Kangaroo, Southern Hairy-Nosed Wombat, Blue-Winged Kookaburra, Tasmanian Devil, Short-beaked echidna and the critically endangered Eastern Barred Bandicoot.

Melbourne Zoo and Healesville Sanctuary are both supported by the Melbourne Veterinary Specialist Centre (MVSC).

Melbourne Zoo and Healesville Sanctuary are home to a variety of native animals, which you can visit 9am-5pm 7 days a week.

X-ray 1: WESTERN GREY KANGAROO
‘Bubbles’ had a dental X-ray, which shows that she is shedding one of her upper molars, a normal process in an elderly grazing kangaroo.

X-ray 2: VICTORIAN KOALA
‘Karri’ had an X-ray taken of her left wrist as part of her annual health check. Her X-rays appear normal.

X-ray 3: BLUE-WINGED KOOKABURRA
‘Ochre’ came to the vets for a general health check-up, which included a full-body X-ray. Her X-rays are normal.

X-ray 4: SOUTHERN HAIRY-NOSED WOMBAT
‘Hagen’ is an elderly southern-hairy nosed wombat who has been treated with anti-inflammatories for his chronic arthritis for the past few years. This X-ray shows the arthritis in both of his wrists, which is very common in older wombats, likely due to their vigorous digging behaviour.

X-ray 5: TASMANIAN DEVIL
‘Chewie’ is an older male Tasmanian devil that had a health assessment, which included a dental check. These are angled X-rays that show the tooth roots of the upper jaws, which appear normal.

X-ray 6: EASTERN BARRED BANDICOOT
‘Louise’ is a young Eastern Barred Bandicoot was brought to the vets for a general health check. The X-rays show she is in good health.

X-ray 7: SHORT-BEAKED ECHIDNA
This is an X-ray of a wild echidna that was brought to Healesville Sanctuary hospital after sustaining injuries during an incident with a dog. The X-rays are clear of bone damage, and the echidna was successfully nursed back to health and re-released back into the wild.