Ultrasound Care for Endangered Species of Warty Pig [Video]

Dakila the endangered Visayan warty pig gets an echocardiogram at the Pittsburgh Zoo

Veterinary patients can be such pigs.  At the Pittsburgh Zoo, they are occasionally lethargic, critically endangered warty pigs

One of the Zoo’s three resident Visayan pigs, Dakila, who is 8 years old, is one such patient. Her veterinary care team, led by Dr. Ginger Sturgeon, pays particular attention to Dakila’s care.

Native to the Philippines, Dakila has condition called dilated cardiomyopathy, which makes her lethargic (and originally contributed to a less-than-pig-perfect appearance). According to Dr. Sturgeon, Dakila can live a full, healthy life at the Zoo, but she requires a special diet with extra vitamins. She also needs regular echocardiogram exams, which are performed with a SonoSite Edge.

How easy is it to get a lethargic warty pig to tolerate regular ultrasound exams, replete with gooey ultrasound gel? Dakila apparently wasn’t thrilled at first. But her care team took the time to build her trust, and spent time using gentle touch and massage that relaxed her. After creating a relaxed environment, they began to introduce the ultrasound machine to her.

Zoo staff then worked diligently to train Dakila to stand throughout the ultrasound procedure (not an easy feat when your medical condition makes you feel like lying down all the time). The echocardiogram needs to be performed on Dakila while she is standing for the best results and imaging.

What kind of ultrasound machines do zoo veterinarians use? The SonoSite Edge ultrasound plays an integral role in Dakila’s health management. The portability, durability, and quick imaging capabilities of the Edge ultrasound have enabled her caretakers to complete her exam of Dakila whenever and wherever they are needed.

Read original NPR story here. Learn more about Veterinary Ultrasound.