Avian and Exotic Radiography

chapter 20 Avian and Exotic Radiography


Patient Restraint

Three types of restraint are used for avian and exotic patients during radiography: (1) manual, (2) physical, and (3) chemical. Regardless of the species and restraint device used, the methods of restraint are similar. The head and torso are restrained first, then the wings (in the case of a bird), and the legs last. With larger rodent mammals, it is possible to use the same restraint methods as for a dog or cat.

Manual restraint involves an attendant (wearing lead attire) who holds the animal in position while the exposure is taken. This method results in increased exposure to personnel and may be illegal in some states. Manual restraint should be avoided if at all possible.

Physical restraint involves such devices as a Plexiglas sheet, ropes, sandbags, and radiolucent adhesive tape. Birds can be restrained directly on a cassette; however, it is recommended that they be positioned on an intermediate surface, especially if several views of the same projection are scheduled. A thin radiolucent sheet of Plexiglas slightly larger than the cassette often serves as an intermediate surface. The avian patient can be placed in position and secured with tape on the radiolucent sheet, which can then be placed directly on the cassette (Fig. 20-1). The type of tape used for physical restraint is important. Scotch tape and cloth medical tape should be avoided because they can damage or remove feathers, fur, or scales.

Plexiglas tubes have been used for the restraint of rodents and other laboratory animals. However, this method is not ideal for radiography because it is difficult to position a patient accurately in a tube. For example, it is not practical to expect a diagnostic radiograph of a rodent thorax if the front limbs are superimposed over the thoracic cavity.

Both manual and physical restraint methods have limitations. Physical restraint may result in excessive patient stress and possible injury from struggling. Injectable sedatives and inhalant anesthetics have greatly increased the feasibility and safety of radiographic procedures involving birds and exotic animals; in fact, they have become the safest methods in use. Chemical restraint is most often used in combination with other positioning techniques to obtain a properly positioned radiograph.

Patients must be evaluated individually to determine the appropriate restraint necessary. Manual or physical restraint should be used only with animals that are not prone to struggle and self-trauma. Supportive therapy such as a heat lamp may be helpful when using anesthesia to keep the patient warm during and after the radiographic examination. Another technique to keep the avian patient warm during recovery is to gently roll the bird into a towel. This technique not only keeps the patient warm but prevents thrashing and possible injury during anesthesia recovery. Careful judgment must be used with a critically ill patient. In some cases it may be necessary to postpone radiography until the patient is stable.


May 27, 2016 | Posted by in ANIMAL RADIOLOGY | Comments Off on Avian and Exotic Radiography
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