Rare Jungle Island gator undergoes CT scan

WATSON ISLAND, Fla. (WSVN) — South Florida’s Jungle Island brought in some high-tech help to care for one of the park’s most popular residents, Friday.

Casper is a rare leucistic alligator, and his caretakers are concerned because he’s losing weight. “For about six weeks he’s been, you know, loss of appetite, a little bit lethargic and a little bit a loss of weight,” Jungle Island spokesperson Jason Chatfield said.

The 19-year-old reptile has a history of melanoma cancer, so the park called Mobile Pet Imaging, a South Florida-based mobile veterinary imaging service, to give Casper a CT scan.

“These guys are mobile, so they can drive up to us,” Chatfield, “We only have to take Casper 35 yards instead of 15 miles, which is great, less anesthesia, less stress.”

The scan works by reconstructing a three-dimensional image of Casper’s head to better diagnose him. Doctors receive a scan with details and angles that wouldn’t be seen in a traditional X-ray.

“We’ll probably get the results, look at them and send them off to a radiologist who’s done gators before on a CAT scan,” Chatfield said, “And they’ll compare them to see what’s normal and what’s abnormal.”

Veterinarians will study the results of the scan and determine what course of medical action to take, if any.

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