OSTEOPOROSIS IN MOOSE ON ISLE ROYALE: A PILOT STUDY OF BONE MINERAL DENSITY USING CT SCANS
Osteoporosis and other skeletal pathologies have been observed in the bones of moose (Alces alces) collected in Isle Royale National Park, MI. We hypothesized that bone mineral density of a distal bone may be an indicator of pervasive skeletal pathology. Computerized tomography (CT) scans were conducted on the metatarsal bones of two male moose, one without any noted skeletal pathology and the other exhibiting advanced periodontal disease, severe osteoarthritis, and osteoporosis of the skull. The CT scans, when enhanced using computerized image enhancement techniques, showed measurably less density in the metatarsus of the moose with skeletal pathology than the moose with no observed pathology. The use of this technique in wildlife studies holds promise for investigations of skeletal abnormalities and for determining how these pathologies affect population dynamics.
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