Episode 7 - Raja the Komodo dragon
Raja is a ten year old Komodo dragon from London Zoo, who was showing signs of intermittent lameness in his front legs.
After conducting a full health check and monitoring him closely, the vets decided to investigate his condition further by x-raying him.
In order to obtain the clearest x-ray image possible, the vets approached Fuji UK who lent them a number of high-tech digital plates, which can be read by computer and the exposure sharpened.
Raja has been target-trained since he was three years old. Raja is encouraged to focus on following a target (a white ball on the end of a stick) and associate this with a reward by using a clicker or by giving him food each time he touches the target. Target-training enables Raja’s keepers to work with him safely and means that veterinary procedures can be carried out without causing him unnecessary stress and without resorting to general anaesthetic.
X-raying a Komodo dragon
Raja was led by a target into his back den, where his keepers and vet nurse, Matthew Rendle had set up a box and the x-raying equipment. He was guided on top of the box so that Matthew could x-ray him. Further x-rays were then taken with Raja inside the box. This gave the vets a range of different views of Raja’s skeleton to examine.
Once Matthew had taken all the necessary x-rays, he took the digital plates to a company called Veterinary Xrays in High Wycombe where they have the equipment necessary to read the plates. Once there, the images were adjusted and sharpened to give the clearest image.
Nothing unusual was found on the x-rays to explain Raja’s lameness. Raja’s keepers and the vets will continue to monitor his condition but he has not shown any signs of lameness for several months.