Huge thanks to VSH: Veterinary Specialty Hospital.

In addition to last week’s snow, we took four animal over to VSH in Durham. The Veterinary Specialty Hospital along with Dr. Cindy Godshalk of East Coast Veterinary Imaging donated their facility, services, and staff to ultrasound and radiograph four of our animals. AND, this isn’t the first time they’ve stepped up and helped out:

Dr. Godshalk at work

The first time was 3.5 years ago when Cassandra needed an ultrasound. Last year we brought two snakes to VSH in Cary for ultrasounds with Dr. Godshalk. And in 2102, Dr. Godshalk and her crew came on grounds to ultrasound the female wolf.

Katy packed everyone up along with our supplies. Can you guess which carrier has which animal?

Last week a pine snake (Megatron), a ferret (Dixie), a bearded dragon (Jr.) and a red ruffed lemur (Iris) all needed tests: ultrasounds and radiographs. Dr. Vanderford arranged with VSH and Dr. Godshalk to bring our critters in on Monday.

Jen, one of the Vet Techs, was helping us left and right and with this and that and everything else. We were really fortunate that she, and everyone else, was excited to have the slithery and scaly and furry exotic critters we brought with us.

Jen logs each of the animals and the procedures needed into the system.
Megatron is over 7 feet long.


Megatron, one of our adult male pine snakes, needed radiographs. (He is the father of the pine snakes that hatched in July 2012). He has a section of his body that doesn’t really bend, so we wanted to get “x-rays” to check things out. The pictures showed some calcification on the spine. We don’t know why this happens, but we’ve seen it before in other snakes. We’ll be really careful when handling him and let him get exercise on flat surfaces.

staff at VSH checking out Megatron’s films.










Dr. Vanderford helps Dixie pose for the shot.

Dixie, one of our four ferrets needed an ultrasound. We wanted to see if she had insulinoma. An insulinoma is a tumor on the pancreas. This is a very common ferret disease. Dixie had to be shaved for the ultrasound. We tried to hold her still but were unsuccessful so we had to use anesthesia to sedate her for the ultrasound. It doesn’t look like Dixie has an insulinoma, however we need to review the ultrasounds and determine next steps in case there are other issues to move on.

Dixie with her shaved abdomen being “gassed” down.










Iris, a 22-year-old red ruffed lemur was next. Katy saw some concerning cells in a urine test she had run- cells that could be indicative of cancer. Good timing that Katy found this out a few days before our visit to VSH so Iris came along  to be checked out.

Dr. Godshalk working with Iris.


We were thinking there might be bladder cancer, or a cancer of the reproductive organs, but that wasn’t found. That’s good news for sure. I cannot tell anything when I look at the ultrasound pictures, but we’ll be reviewing what was learned and determining what steps are next. (Dr. Godshalk is a board certified radiologist so it doesn’t matter that I cannot recognize anything- she takes care of all that!)

small print outs, about 4×4 inches of the different views.
Jen and Dr. Godshalk get photos of Jr.

Junior was the last patient. She’s a bearded dragon. A few weeks ago her beard was quite swollen and Jr. wasn’t eating well. Dr. Vanderford and Katy sedated her at the Museum and pulled about 8 cc of fluid from her beard. While she has improved, we wanted to further assess and try to determine the cause of her issues.


Maybe the ultrasound want felt like a message to junior?


Junior was possibly the easiest of the four animals to work with. She didn’t need to get shaved (no fur on reptiles). She didn’t need to get sedated- she just held still without any wiggling or struggling. She made it really easy.




4 DVMs consulting on Junior’s case: Vanderford, Godshalk, Eward, and Eward.
Jen get’s Junior in the perfect position to get the needed radiograph.

After Junior finished with the ultrasound, she went in for radiographs. Jen was able to get great films, and she even got Junior to hold still on her side! While the ultrasound didn’t show any smoking gun, an unrelated finding on the radiographs shows some real issues with Junior’s vertebrae.

Dr. Godshalk reviews Junior’s films

Thanks so much to VSH!!  The generosity and help of all the staff their have been wonderful. We are very fortunate to have them help us care for our animal population.









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