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What’s It Like to Have a Radiologist at the Zoo?

Animals at the Brookfield Zoo can now get medical imaging evaluations thanks to Marina Ivančić, MD, the Chicago Zoological Society’s full-time, board-certified veterinary radiologist.

Like human radiologists, Ivančić starts her day by doing rounds with the rest of the veterinary practitioners, and then focuses on examining images and writing diagnoses.

The Brookfield Zoo is one of three zoos in the country that operates its own CT scanner. They also have fluoroscopy and ultrasonography equipment and a set protocol for bringing animals to other facilities for MRIs.

Ivančić's passion for veterinary radiology originates from her initial work as a dolphin trainer. As an undergrad, she focused on marine mammal medicine, conducting diagnostic imaging research on dolphins. She later went on to pursue veterinary studies and soon became board-certified with the American College of Veterinary Radiology.

Originally from Croatia, Ivančić also runs a consulting service interpreting images for zoos around the globe. Her uncommon expertise has brought her to far-off countries to give lectures and workshops. She was recently in Scotland working with giant pandas.

"If you’re working with animals that are rare and different and that we don’t know as much about, it’s part of your mandate to put in the scientific literature what you’re learning about them," she told the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association.

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