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  • Cited by 1
  • Print publication year: 2006
  • Online publication date: August 2009

17 - Ultrasonography to assess and enhance health and reproduction in the giant panda

Summary

INTRODUCTION

Ultrasonography is a routine diagnostic procedure used for assessing soft tissue characteristics in the human and veterinary medical fields of ophthalmology, cardiology, neurology, nephrology, obstetrics, oncology and orthopaedics. Because various forms of ultrasonography have existed for more than 50 years, it is surprising that this technology has only recently been applied to the study and management of wildlife species (Hildebrandt & Göritz, 1998; Hildebrandt et al., 2003). Nonetheless, there already is enough evidence making it clear that ultrasonography, combined with other technologies, can address issues that directly impact the health and reproductive welfare of wildlife species. This chapter focuses on the relevance of this technique for assisting in the assessment of medical and reproductive health in the giant panda.

The struggle to propagate and maintain viable wild animal populations in captivity is often related to information gaps that limit our ability to develop breeding and health strategies that are species appropriate. As demonstrated throughout this book, the giant panda presents some significant challenges to ex situ managers, which are exacerbated by a lack of basic biological knowledge about the species. Ultrasonographical studies are helping fill these physiological and anatomical voids by allowing the:

characterisation of reproductive tract morphology;

description of reproductive events;

monitoring of foetal development;

documentation of progression and treatment of pathologies.

Ultrasonography is also playing a significant role in developing and using artificial insemination (AI), which plays a critical role in the genetic management of this species (see Chapters 20 and 21).

References
Davis, D. D. (1964). The Giant Panda. A Morphological Study of Evolutionary Mechanisms. Fieldiana: Zoology Memoirs. Volume 3. Chicago, IL: Chicago Natural History Museum.
Hildebrandt, T. B. and Göritz, F. (1998). Use of ultrasonography in zoo animals. In Zoo and Wild Animal Medicine. Current Therapy 4, ed. Fowler, M. E. and Miller, R. E.. Philadelphia, PA: W. B. Saunders Co., pp. 41–54.
Hildebrandt, T. B., Brown, J. L., Hermes, R. and Göritz, F. (2003). Ultrasound for the analysis of reproductive function in wildlife. In Reproduction and Integrated Conservation Science, ed. Holt, W. V., Pickard, A. R., Roger, J. C. and Wildt, D. E.. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 166–82.
Knauf, T., Jewgenow, K., Dehnhard, M.et al. (2003). Comparative investigations on reproductive biology in different bear species – anatomical, ultrasonographic and endocrine investigations. Verhandlungsbericht des 41. Internationalen Symposium über Erkrankungen der Zoo- und Wildtiere, Rome, 41, 287–96.
Meyer, H. H. D., Rohleder, M., Streich, W. J., Göltenboth, R. and Ochs, A. (1997). Sexual Steroidprofile und Ovaraktivitäten des Pandaweibchen Yan Yan im Berliner Zoo. Berliner Münchener Tierärztliche Wochenschrift, 110, 143–7.
Sutherland-Smith, M., Morris, P. J. and Silverman, S. (2004). Pregnancy detection and fetal monitoring via ultrasound in a giant panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca). Zoo Biology, 23, 449–61.