IMPROVED DIAGNOSIS OF FOOT OSTEOARTHRITIS IN ELEPHANTS (ELEPHAS MAXIMUS, LOXODONTA AFRICANA) USING STEREORADIOGRAPHY

Charlotte Bentley, Jonathan M. Cracknall , Andrew C. Kitchener, Yolanda Martinez-Pereira, Romain Pizzi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Diagnosis of foot disease in elephants is challenging. Owing to their large size, there are limitations in diagnostic tools available and the expense of imaging. Stereoradiography is the preparation of paired radiographs that form a three-dimensional (3D) image when viewed stereoscopically. Clinicians and veterinary students graded osteoarthritis in the feet of African (Loxodonta africana) and Asian (Elephas maximus) elephants taken post-mortem using standard 2D radiographs, as well as 3D stereoradiographs. These gradings were compared to the actual gross pathology identified in the specimens. While veterinary students were no better than chance at diagnosis from 2D radiographs, 83.6% of the students could correctly differentiate severity between joints on stereoradiography; this is an absolute improvement of 30.1% (95%CI =19.6-40.6%). Overall, participants were 27.4% (95%CI =18.4-36.3%) more successful at diagnosing pathology on stereoradiographs. Half of participants were shown standard 2D radiographs first, the others stereoradiographs first, but there was no statistically significant difference in gradings between the two groups. Stereoradiography appears to hold the potential to improve diagnosis of osteoarthritis in elephant feet, particularly by less experienced clinicians, and the technique is low-cost and applicable under field conditions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)67-74
JournalJournal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine
Volume52
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2021

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