Snow leopard BriteVu study

Jul 27, 2019 Off Comments in Non-Human Mammals
Snow leopard BriteVu study

Snow Leopards (Panthera uncia) are native to the mountains of central and south Asia and are listed as vulnerable on the IUCN Red List due to declining numbers in the wild.  Zoologic collections house most of the known captive populations and serve as a source to collect data on these beautiful and threatened species.  As collection animals age and succumb to significant health problems, euthanasia becomes a humane option.

The male snow leopard featured here was beloved by caretakers, visitors and anyone who had the opportunity to interact with him.  The animal care staff and institution administration decided to donate the leopard’s body post-euthanasia to the ARCIVES project led by Heather Smith, PhD and Beth Townsend PhD at Midwestern University for detailed anatomic study.

Many institutions came together to work on this project and included Julie Barnes, BVSc, MSc at the Santa Barbara Zoo; Nancy Carpenter, DVM, MS and Erika Crook, DVM, DACZM at the Hogle Zoo; Dr Diana Boon; Crystal Wilcox, LVT and Virginia Straw, CVT at Parrish Creek Veterinary Clinic Centerville; Skip Echols and Scott Echols, DVM DABVP at Scarlet Imaging Murray, UT and Michelle Bauman- lead CT technologist.  The leopard’s body was soft tissue preserved using a novel method and his whole body CT scanned on a Siemens Definition Flash clinical CT at 625 µm.  Next, the leopard was contrast perfused using BriteVu and BriteVu Enhancer and rescanned on the large clinical scanner and specific portions (such as the feet and head) scanned on the Epica Vimago at 200µm for greater detail.

This leopard will join a female of the same species as a part of the detailed anatomy study with publication being the end goal.  For more information about ARCIVES, go to

Snow leopard hind foot with BriteVu.

Snow leopard head and BriteVu

Snow leopard perfused with BriteVu and BriteVu Enhancer.

Snow leopard with BriteVu

Snow leopard perfused with BriteVu and BriteVu Enhancer