Wildlife Center Goes Digital

At long last, a dream of the WCV veterinary staff has come true! At the end of 2010, a group of Wildlife Center supporters donated the funds to purchase a Fuji digital radiology system. This system arrived and was installed at the beginning of March 2011. This system has been on the veterinary team's wishlist for years. Dr. Dave McRuer states, "I really cannot express how excited we are to have this technology in our Center. The biggest change from the old system has been the increased image detail. We can now identify individual bone plates in the skull and the fine network of bony spindles in the marrow cavities of our patients. We could never do this in the past. I cannot wait to admit a hummingbird!" Along with being able to see more detail, the team also now has the ability to change the contrast of the image on the computer -- essentially, changing the exposure with just the click of a mouse to best visualize both bone and soft tissue on the same image. In the past, two x-rays would've been taken to get the same views. Dr. Miranda Sadar is also excited about the improved patient care that the digital system will bring. "Since the digital films come out faster [rather than waiting several minutes for processing], we can shorten anesthetic time for the patients. That may not sound like a big deal, but it actually is -- less time under anesthesia is always better for the patients." Another benefit to a digital radiograph system:  this technology will reduce the Center's environmental footprint by eliminating the use of processing chemicals used in traditional radiography. The veterinary team is also extremely excited about the easy "consulting factor" too.  When radiographs are taken in a digital format, files can be shared with anyone who has access to the internet.  This list includes government wildlife agencies, teaching institutions, at-home wildlife rehabilitators, and consulting veterinarians.   Veterinarians who are "on duty" at the Center can even easily consult with colleagues who may be working remotely. So what was the first patient to benefit from this new system?  A Turkey Vulture from New Kent County that was caught in a soccer net.  This bird was quickly followed by three Red-tailed Hawks, a Pigeon, an Eastern Screech-Owl, an American Robin, a Red-shouldered Hawk, a Cooper's Hawk, a Barred Owl, and two Bald Eagles. The veterinary team is already thrilled with the sort of images they're able to see on this new system.  However, things will get even better next month -- a specialist from Fuji will be coming to the Center in April to optimize the images.  Since wildlife patients are a bit different than the average dog or cat, the settings will be adjusted to give us the absolute best picture. Thank you to all of our supporters who helped us obtain this new tool! Your special contribution will help the Center to acquire state-of-the-art veterinary equipment …  and will help our veterinarians treat 2300+ wild animals in need  this year.  Please help!