Foot problems are extremely common in elephants and radiography is the only imaging method available but the radiographic anatomy has not been described in detail. The aims of this study were to develop a radiographic protocol for elephant feet using digital radiography, and to describe the normal radiographic anatomy of the Asian elephant front and hind foot. A total of fifteen cadaver foot specimens from captive Asian elephants were radiographed using a range of projections and exposures to determine the best radiographic technique. This was subsequently tested in live elephants in a free-contact setting. The normal radiographic anatomy of the Asian elephant front and hind foot was described with the use of three-dimensional models based on CT reconstructions. The projection angles that were found to be most useful were 65–70° for the front limb and 55–60° in the hind limb. The beam was centred 10–15 cm proximal to the cuticle in the front and 10–15 cm dorsal to the plantar edge of the sole in the hind foot depending on the size of the foot. The protocol developed can be used for larger-scale diagnostic investigations of captive elephant foot disorders, while the normal radiographic anatomy described can improve the diagnostic reliability of elephant feet radiography.
- Foot conditions
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