This procedure is used to locate internal problems in the least invasive way possible.
Ultrasound has many uses including determining pregnancy, viewing internal organs non-invasively and locating tumors or abnormal growths to assist in determining if a surgery is necessary rather than doing an exploratory procedure when it is not required.
A healthy set of teeth is important to all animals. Dental disease can cause discomfort, decreased appetite and can lead to disease in other organs including the heart and the kidneys. Rather than performing extractions of broken teeth, root canals are often performed to preserve a tooth and the surrounding gum tissue.
Semen can be collected from the males of some species to evaluate fertility and for long term storage. It can then be frozen and cryo-preserved for future use.
Modern technology in medical equipment has greatly assisted in the care of animals. An example of this is with the sea turtle. The sea turtle demonstrated problems in the ability to dive after being hit by a boat propeller. It is very important for turtles to be able to dive to feed, avoid predators and maintain their general health. In this case, the use of a high speed CT scanner assisted the medical team in the diagnosis of the problem which was gas buildup in the large intestine. Although the more elaborate and costly units such as the CT scanner are beyond the resources of Omaha's Zoo, this equipment can occasionally be accessed at human medical and veterinary regional facilities.
With such a large population of animals situations can arise that create medical emergencies. These can include trauma from a fall or conflict between exhibit mates, dystocias (difficulties delivering a baby), sudden illness due to infectious processes such as bacteria or viruses and toxicities from allergies or exposure to foreign substances such as items people may throw into exhibits.