BY Lauren Fruen
A PYTHON weighing a whopping ten stone has undergone a pioneering CAT scan for her lung problems.
Hanna the snake – who is nearly 20 feet long – had to be folded up to fit in the machine at Columbus Zoo and Aquarium.
She underwent the scan after suffering respiratory problems.
Zoo staff used the groundbreaking technology after noting she had swelling on her face.
Vice president of animal health at the zoo, Dr. Randy Junge, said: “Hanna, the reticulated python, has had bouts of respiratory infections in the past.
“As you can imagine, a serious infection in a 135-pound snake can present some challenges—even in one as gentle as Hanna.
“Keepers noted Hanna had some swelling of her face, and there was concern that it might be an early indication of infection.
“When a respiratory infection has been suspected in the past, the Zoo’s veterinary team would take radiographs to assess her lungs and airways.
However, x-rays do not do a very good job of showing detail in reptiles.
“This year, the Zoo’s veterinary team has the option of the perfect diagnostic tool—the CAT (or CT) scanner. CAT imaging gives much better detail and is not affected by structures like skin and scales.
“Even though Hanna is 18 ¾ ft. long, her scan took only a few minutes.
“Staff had to coil her a bit and scan her from both ends, but they were able to image her entire body length in great detail.
“The swollen area noted by the animal care team was confirmed by the veterinary team to be glandular tissue. Hanna will be on antibiotics for two weeks to clear the infection.”
The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium recently put their new machine to the test to also find out the extent of an infection in lion’s mouth.
The zoo is one of just six zoos in the U.S. with computerised axial tomography (CAT) technology on site.
They say the CAT scanner will allow vets to understand the interior of any animal with a hard exterior like a shell.