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Computed tomographic anatomy of the heads of blue-and-gold macaws (Ara ararauna), African grey parrots (Psittacus erithacus), and monk parakeets (Myiopsitta monachus)

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  • 1 Department of Animal Medicine, Production and Health, University of Padua, Viale dell'Università 16, 35020 Legnaro PD, Italy.
  • | 2 Department of Animal Medicine, Production and Health, University of Padua, Viale dell'Università 16, 35020 Legnaro PD, Italy.
  • | 3 Department of Animal Medicine, Production and Health, University of Padua, Viale dell'Università 16, 35020 Legnaro PD, Italy.
  • | 4 Clinic for Exotic Animals, Centro Veterinario Specialistico, Via Sandro Giovannini, 53 Roma 00137.
  • | 5 Avian Medicine Laboratory, Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale delle Venezie, Viale dell'Università 10, 35020 Legnaro PD, Italy.
  • | 6 Department of Animal Medicine, Production and Health, University of Padua, Viale dell'Università 16, 35020 Legnaro PD, Italy.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE To create an atlas of the normal CT anatomy of the head of blue-and-gold macaws (Ara ararauna), African grey parrots (Psittacus erithacus), and monk parakeets (Myiopsitta monachus).

ANIMALS 3 blue-and-gold macaws, 5 African grey parrots, and 6 monk parakeets and cadavers of 4 adult blue-and-gold macaws, 4 adult African grey parrots, and 7 monk parakeets.

PROCEDURES Contrast-enhanced CT imaging of the head of the live birds was performed with a 4-multidetector-row CT scanner. Cadaveric specimens were stored at −20°C until completely frozen, and each head was then sliced at 5-mm intervals to create reference cross sections. Frozen cross sections were cleaned with water and photographed on both sides. Anatomic structures within each head were identified with the aid of the available literature, labeled first on anatomic photographs, and then matched to and labeled on corresponding CT images. The best CT reconstruction filter, window width, and window level for obtaining diagnostic images of each structure were also identified.

RESULTS Most of the clinically relevant structures of the head were identified in both the cross-sectional photographs and corresponding CT images. Optimal visibility of the bony structures was achieved via CT with a standard soft tissue filter and pulmonary window. The use of contrast medium allowed a thorough evaluation of the soft tissues.

CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE The labeled CT images and photographs of anatomic structures of the heads of common pet parrot species created in this study may be useful as an atlas to aid interpretation of images obtained with any imaging modality.

Contributor Notes

Address correspondence to Dr. Zotti (alessandro.zotti@unipd.it).