It was certainly a case of ‘two for joy’ for a leading London animal hospital after performing the world’s first CT scan on a pair of Javan Green Magpies from London Zoo. 

The successful scan took place at Linnaeus-owned London Vet Specialists (LVS) in Belsize Park, which is shortly moving to a new state-of-the-art facility in Hammersmith. 

Javan Green Magpies, which are native to the island of Java in Indonesia, are a highly threatened species with possibly less than 50 remaining in the wild due to the pet trade and habitat loss. 

Their plight is so acute they are classified as critically endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the most severe status before being declared extinct in the wild.

London Zoo, which is currently home to the male and female birds, is working alongside Indonesian NGOs and other European zoos to establish a breeding population with the aim of reintroduction into the wild. 

The world-first CT scan at LVS was used to assess the health of the birds’ lungs for the presence of fungal infection, as aspergillosis has been documented in the species. Both birds recovered well after the scan and returned home to London Zoo. 

Ryan Kavanagh, head of nursing services at LVS, said: “It was our privilege to welcome London Zoo’s team to LVS to partner in the care of these critically endangered birds. 

“The information collected from the procedures is invaluable, as the first CT studies documented for the species. We hope this data can be utilised to further understand the health of Javan Green Magpies and contribute toward the efforts in restoring their population.”

Ana García Fernandez, radiology consultant at LVS who oversaw the scans, said: “Assisting with the care of London Zoo’s Javan Green Magpies has been an amazing experience. 

“Working with the ZSL team taught me a lot about this critically endangered bird, of which there are so few left in the world. 

“The opportunity to help diagnose members of this species is a reminder of why I love this profession. A special thanks to ZSL for their trust in the London Vet Specialists team.”

Head of Wildlife Health Services at ZSL, Amanda Guthrie said: “London Zoo is a conservation hub for threatened species from all over the world, and our veterinary team is responsible for the health of each and every one. These beautiful birds are sadly Critically Endangered in the wild, mostly due to the illegal wildlife trade, so keeping a healthy population thriving here at London Zoo is crucial to their future survival.

“As part of their care, we carry out thorough health checks and these two magpies required a CT scan in order for us to examine their lungs. While the two birds appear to be otherwise healthy, we found some sign of an inactive infection which means we’ll carry out a further examination.

“The support of consultants such as the London Vets Specialists helps us to provide the best care for these precious animals – which in turn is vital in protecting the future of the species.” 

LVS is a multidisciplinary veterinary referral facility which offers expert care in anaesthesia and analgesia, cardiology, neurology, oncology, dermatology, diagnostic imaging, internal medicine, ophthalmology and soft tissue and orthopaedic surgery. The LVS team moves to its new £8 million Hammersmith hospital this spring. 

For more information about London Vet Specialists, and the services it offers, visit or follow @londonvetspecialists on Instagram. 

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