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1 April 2021 IMPROVED DIAGNOSIS OF FOOT OSTEOARTHRITIS IN ELEPHANTS (ELEPHAS MAXIMUS, LOXODONTA AFRICANA) USING STEREORADIOGRAPHY
Charlotte E. Bentley, Jonathan M. Cracknell, Andrew C. Kitchener, Yolanda Martinez Pereira, Romain Pizzi
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Abstract

Diagnosis of foot disease in elephants is challenging. Owing to their large size, the available diagnostic tools and the expense of imaging are diagnostically limiting. 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 postmortem with standard 2D radiographs, as well as 3D stereoradiographs. These gradings were compared with the actual gross pathology identified in the specimens. Although veterinary students diagnoses were no better than chance 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% confidence interval [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 the difference in gradings between the two groups was not statistically significant. 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.

Copyright 2021 by American Association of Zoo Veterinarians
Charlotte E. Bentley, Jonathan M. Cracknell, Andrew C. Kitchener, Yolanda Martinez Pereira, and Romain Pizzi "IMPROVED DIAGNOSIS OF FOOT OSTEOARTHRITIS IN ELEPHANTS (ELEPHAS MAXIMUS, LOXODONTA AFRICANA) USING STEREORADIOGRAPHY," Journal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine 52(1), 67-74, (1 April 2021). https://doi.org/10.1638/2020-0083
Accepted: 24 October 2020; Published: 1 April 2021