Enhanced views to improve raptor care
The Raptor Center

Thanks to the extremely generous donation by Ann and Tom Schwalen, The Raptor Center recently upgraded our radiograph machine for taking x-ray images. With this improvement we can get much clearer images and the process is now entirely digital. We no longer need physical plates to set the birds on and the image results are instantaneous. There are so many benefits; we are absolutely thrilled and grateful for this new tool!

Our clinic team is exceptional, but they were limited by the equipment at hand and could only be as good as the tools available allowed. With the improved images we are able to provide a higher level of care to our patients. We’ve already seen improvements in the few days we’ve had it.

Radiograph of a barred owl with fixature for wing fracture
Full body radiograph of the barred owl in stunning detail
taken with the new machine! The large, bright bar you
see is equipment used to align and stabilize the bones
at the wing fracture site.

For example, a barred owl patient was diagnosed with a wing fracture using the old radiograph machine. We surgically stabilized the fracture and when monitoring the owl post-surgery noticed that it was reluctant to put weight on its left leg. It was during this time that the new machine was installed, so we performed another round of radiographs. With increased clarity and details, we could now clearly see a small fracture in the owl’s pelvis that was difficult to pinpoint with the older machine. Armed with this new info, we altered the owl’s  treatment plan to address the pelvic fracture and to improve the bird’s comfort.

Additionally, because the new machine is digital, we don’t need to spend as much time preparing and processing each radiograph (x-ray). This means less time that each patient needs to be under anesthesia and less handling by our veterinarians. This translates into less stress for our patients.

Huge thanks to the Schwalen’s for making this new powerful technology available to us. “Ann and I are honored to help The Raptor Center acquire this critical piece of new medical equipment. We know that replacing the old. out of date equipment will enable improved treatment and enhanced rehabilitation of injured raptors. We hope other donor's will continue to support The Raptor Center during these challenging funding times." said longtime donor Tom Schwalen. 

Take a look for yourself! On the left is the clarity of the new machine with the arrows pointing to the diagnosed pelvic fracture. On the right is the old machine, where the image quality drops significantly.

comparison of new and old radiograph images
Left: New image with arrows pointing to the small pelvic fracture Right: Old image with decreased quality and clarity