We missed you too! It’s been a little while hasn’t it? Well, we were busy getting some great stories together for our AAQ Insiders!
First up is a tale about a Tank. Get ready to have your mind blown by SCIENCE!!! (Seriously, this stuff is super cool).
Adventure Aquarium is home to an inquisitive southern three-banded armadillo, warmly named Tank. Isn’t this 3-year-old boy just awesome??
Now you may be asking, why does an aquarium have an armadillo? Well, AAQ manages a diverse collection of animals not on display, including this armadillo, which have special jobs as “Animal Ambassadors.” These animals are able to be easily handled and trained for up close experiences with our guests. Through our up closes, held at Discovery Deck in Zone A as well as other locations throughout the aquarium, we can help educate and promote conservation of their species and other animals.
We like to say that our animals have the best healthcare thanks to our on staff veterinarian, Dr. Mike Hyatt, and his team. As part of a preventative health program, Tank receives routine annual examinations just like your dog or cat by Dr. Hyatt.
For animal comfort and safety, Tank is anesthetized for the exam, blood collection and x-rays. Tank’s exam and blood work indicated a healthy armadillo, but because of the armor that surrounds and protects him, x-rays can be difficult to evaluate. As such, there were suspicious changes in Tank’s lungs on x-ray that could not be confidently evaluated.
To make sure what Dr. Hyatt and his team were seeing on the x-rays was nothing more than normal anatomic variation, which means normal flexibility in the topography and morphology of the armadillo’s body structure, we contacted our friends at NorthStar VETS, a referral specialty and emergency veterinary hospital in Robbinsville, NJ, for a computed tomographic (CT) examination, also known as a CAT scan.
Tank was so brave during the CAT scan!
This type of advanced diagnostic imaging provides cross-sectional x-ray imaging through thin slices along the whole body. This imaging allows better visualization of internal organs that a standard x-ray would not be able to detect.
Get ready for the cool part! The computer program is also able to take these images and create a 3D reconstruction of the animal’s skeleton, and in this case, Tank’s armor.
We were relieved to learn that Tank’s CT was completely normal! (Hooray!!)
This visit also gave the veterinarians and veterinary radiologist at NorthStar VETS an opportunity to work with an animal species not normally brought to their hospital. It was a great learning opportunity for both veterinary teams.
So, there you have it. Science and technology amaze us again!