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(pictured left to right) Michelle Soszynski, senior keeper/Veterinarian Services at Brookfield Zoo; Jackie Zdziarski, veterinarian at Brookfield Zoo; and Judy Seraphin, 3-D lab/CT technologist from Loyola University Medical Center, prepare Bernarrd, a 26-year-old aardvark for a CT scan.
Brookfield Zoo Becomes Second U.S. Zoo with On-site CT Scanner
Chicago Zoological Society’s Announces Newest Addition to Imaging Suite, Now the Best-Equipped in the Country

The Chicago Zoological Society’s Brookfield Zoo is pleased to announce the addition of a CT (CAT) scanner to its world-class imaging suite. Donated by Loyola University Medical Center, this new piece of equipment enhances the zoo’s diagnostic capabilities and gives it the distinction of having the best, most comprehensive imaging suite in a North American zoo. Brookfield Zoo is the second zoo in the U.S. to own an on-site CT scanner and is the only zoo animal hospital in North America to combine digital radiology and CT technology at its facility.

Extensive remodeling was necessary to accommodate the CT scanner: one wing of the Animal Hospital was renovated to provide a lead-walled room large enough to hold the machine and its accompanying equipment. This renovation was supported by the Aurelio Caccomo Family Foundation, whose commitment to animal welfare has helped catapult the zoo’s Animal Hospital to a level unsurpassed by any other zoo in the country.

The CT scanner produces images of the inside of an animal patient’s body, enabling veterinarians to identify specific health problems and pinpoint their exact location. The scanner can work on animals that weigh up to 400 pounds, such as a tiger, dolphin, gorilla, or small bear.

“Having the CT scanner on-site allows us to provide high-quality animal care in a quick and efficient manner,” said Michael Adkesson, DVM, DACZM, veterinarian for the Chicago Zoological Society. “With this new addition to our imaging suite, we are able to conduct more advanced diagnostic testing and perform highly involved procedures with accuracy and ease.”

Since December, the zoo has utilized the CT scanner with many patients ranging from a Mexican grey wolf to a ferret. In the cases of Bernaard, a 26 year-old aardvark, and Ruby, an 11-year-old goat, “The images from the CT scanner helped us provide better treatment for their medical problems, by making corrective surgery faster, more accurate, and lower-risk,” Adkesson added.

Brookfield Zoo’s state-of-the-art Aurelio Caccomo Imaging Suite contributes to scientific knowledge about animal health. Each patient’s images from the zoo’s X-ray, CT scanner, and ultrasound machines, are saved in a digital database to provide a complete picture of the animal’s health over time. Upon request, Brookfield Zoo can grant access to this database of information to other institutions worldwide.

The zoo’s imaging suite consists of digital radiography (x-ray), mammography, ultrasound, and CT technology. In addition to the CT scanner, the zoo’s collection includes a Sedecal large animal X-ray system, a GE Senographe 800T mammography unit, two Eklin digital radiography systems, a PACS storage system, a diagnostic workstation, and a system that allows zoo veterinarians to view images from any of the computers within the hospital.

Veterinarian Services staff at Brookfield Zoo view
CT scan images of Bernaard, a 26-year-old aardvark.

The Veterinary Services Department is part of the Chicago Zoological Society’s Center for the Science of Animal Welfare (CSAW), a program designed to advance the science of “animal-directed” care at Brookfield Zoo. The department works with animal caregivers throughout the zoo to maintain the health of the animal collection through direct clinical medical and surgical care, as well as a comprehensive preventive health program. In addition to veterinary science, CSAW combines the zoo’s programs in animal husbandry, endocrinology, genetics, and population biology to develop the best possible management practices.

Michelle Soszynski, senior keeper/Veterinarian Services
at Brookfield Zoo (left), and Judy Seraphin, 3-D lab/CT technologist
from Loyola University Medical Center, prepare Bernaard,
a 26-year-old aardvark for a CT scan.

Jackie Zdziarski, veterinarian at Brookfield Zoo (left),
and Michelle Soszynski, senior keeper/Veterinarian Services
at Brookfield Zoo, prepare one of the zoo’s
Mexican gray wolves for a CT Scan.

Click here for a list of Brookfield Zoo's Imaging Suite Equipment