Pilot Study: Correlation of the Surface Skin Temperature Between the Leg and Foot Using Thermographic Imaging in Captive Hawks

Rae Porter-Blackwell, Joanne R. Paul-Murphy, Sarah S. le Jeune, Beatriz Martínez-López, Brittany Anne Seibert

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to determine whether the thermal image temperatures of the tibiotarsal scaled region of the raptor leg and the plantar surface of ipsilateral foot while perching were correlated. The correlation between leg and foot temperature was sought to determine whether remote imaging of the legs can be used as a reliable predictor of foot temperature. The right and left tarsometatarsal region (Leg) and metatarsal pad (Foot) of 10 captive hawks, including 8 red-tailed hawks (Buteo jamaicensis), 1 Harris's hawk (Parabuteo unicinctus), and 1 Swainson's hawk (Buteo swainsoni) were imaged once daily over 3 consecutive days. To account for conditions of the metatarsal pad that might affect the thermal image, 3 groups were identified: Normal, Active when mild hyperemia was present, and Suspect when abrasions were noted. A significant correlation was evident when thermography readings of the tarsometatarsal region (R.Leg and L.Leg) of the unrestrained bird were compared with readings from the plantar surface of the ipsilateral metatarsal pad when restrained (R.Foot and L.Foot). The correlations for R.Leg versus R.Foot (r = 0.81) and L.Leg versus L.Foot (r = 0.74) suggest that temperatures of the tarsometatarsal region of perching hawks measured by infrared thermography may be useful to screen and monitor for the presence of thermal changes associated with inflammation of the metatarsal pad in captive hawk species.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)164-171
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Avian Medicine and Surgery
Volume34
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 21 2020

Keywords

  • avian
  • Buteo jamaicensis
  • Buteo swainsoni
  • foot
  • Harris's hawk
  • hawk
  • inflammation
  • leg
  • Parabuteo unicinctus
  • raptor
  • red-tailed hawk
  • Swainson's hawk
  • thermography

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Small Animals

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