Category: Veterinary Science
Monday, January 6, 2020
Late this summer, caretakers observed female Asian elephant Asha, 24, demonstrating a “squinty” eye. This is not a common behavior and was initially treated with topical medication by Zoo veterinary staff. When the issue didn’t resolve after the initial round of treatment, teams determined it was time for an examination by an ophthalmologist.
When dealing with animal ocular issues like Asha’s, the Zoo consults Dr. Jonathan Pucket, a full-time veterinary...
at Monday, January 6, 2020
Thursday, December 5, 2019
Starting in 2017, the Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden partnered with the Painted Dog Research Trust (PDRT) to support its efforts to conserve the endangered African painted dog. Dr. Greg Rasmussen, PDRT founder and executive director, has worked for almost two decades protecting and studying the species, with populations totaling fewer than 7,000 in the wild.
An essential part of the Zoo’s ongoing commitment to the PDRT includes sending staff members to Zimbabwe annually to...
at Thursday, December 5, 2019
Thursday, October 17, 2019
The Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden is celebrating National Veterinary Technician Week, October 13 through October 19, by profiling our hard-working animal health care staff, including Kaitlin Eagle, Veterinary Assistant.
How long have you worked at the Zoo?
I started with the Zoo in January, but I’ve been working in the veterinary field since 2011 and in the zoo field since 2015. I started with Cincinnati Zoo’s Wild Encounters department in 2015 and then...
at Thursday, October 17, 2019
Wednesday, October 16, 2019
The Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden is celebrating National Veterinary Technician Week, October 13 through October 19, by profiling our hard-working animal health care staff, including Stephanie Elliot, Veterinary Technician .
Stephanie, when Vet Tech Week arrived last year, you said seeing Kairavi (who just celebrated her first birthday) was your favorite memory. Has that changed this year?
I’m not sure anything will ever top the birth of an elephant!
at Wednesday, October 16, 2019
Tuesday, October 15, 2019
The Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden is celebrating National Veterinary Technician Week, October 13 through October 19, by profiling our hard-working animal health care staff, including Mark Romanoski, Veterinary Technician.
Mark, when Vet Tech Week arrived last year, you had been at the Zoo for only four months, now that you have more than a full year of experience, what’s been the most surprising aspect of the job?
I was very surprised at how exciting it...
at Tuesday, October 15, 2019
Monday, October 14, 2019
The Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden is celebrating National Veterinary Technician Week, October 13 through October 19, by profiling our hard-working animal health care staff, starting with Liz McCrae, Vet Clinic Coordinator.
Liz, congratulations on your recent promotion to veterinary clinic coordinator! Tell us a bit about your new role and how you are settling into it after three months?
My new role on the veterinary team is an exciting new endeavor and I am...
at Monday, October 14, 2019
Tuesday, June 11, 2019
When it comes to animal health concerns – there is no ‘lion’ around at the Oklahoma City Zoo.
During a morning body check in March, the Zoo’s carnivore care team observed a prominent squint in the left eye of 19-year-old lioness, Tia. Upon noticing this change in her health, Tia’s care team took immediate action and contacted the Zoo’s veterinary team to arrange an evaluation.
Zoo veterinarians evaluated Tia’s left eye and...
at Tuesday, June 11, 2019
Wednesday, May 29, 2019
The Oklahoma City Zoo continues to be a leader in the field of animal medicine, innovating a new stem cell-based treatment to improve blood flow and shorten recovery time. When geriatric elephant Bamboo, 53, experienced a minor tail wound, veterinary staff came together and made a plan to help accelerate healing. Tails have smaller blood vessels and take longer to heal, especially in older animals. The OKC Zoo veterinary team decided to launch a two-pronged treatment approach. First, the...
at Wednesday, May 29, 2019
Tuesday, February 12, 2019
Gorilla Bouendje (Bo), 12, developed a limp in his left leg on December 13, 2017, that was later identified as a tibia fracture after imagery confirmed the break. His initial treatments were documented in this previous blog post . Fourteen months later, he is able to move around his habitat with ease including running and jumping. The image below shows the healing process in action:
Bo was behind-the-scenes for three months to allow him to heal in comfort. He was joined...
at Tuesday, February 12, 2019
Friday, October 19, 2018
The Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden is celebrating National Veterinary Technician Week by celebrating our hard-working vet tech trio, including Liz McCrae , profiled below.
Veterinary technicians are critical to the day-to-day function of veterinary practices, and play vital roles in preserving animal health and welfare. National Veterinary Technician Week provides an opportunity to recognize veterinary technicians’ contributions. First celebrated in...
at Friday, October 19, 2018
Monday, October 15, 2018
The Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden is celebrating National Veterinary Technician Week, October 14 through October 20, by profiling our hard-working vet tech trio, starting with Stephanie Elliott .
Veterinary technicians are critical to the day-to-day function of veterinary practices, and play vital roles in preserving animal health and welfare. National Veterinary Technician Week provides an opportunity to recognize veterinary technicians’ contributions. First...
at Monday, October 15, 2018
Monday, September 24, 2018
On Sunday, August 26, the Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden’s veterinary team collaborated with human medical specialists to conduct a robot-assisted surgery on Emily, the OKC Zoo’s 33-year-old Western lowland gorilla, to repair an umbilical hernia. This is the first known robotic surgery performed on a Western lowland gorilla in human care.
“Emily’s surgery was a success thanks to the team of specialists who gave their time and expertise to assist,” said...
at Monday, September 24, 2018
Friday, May 25, 2018
UPDATE (6/29/18): Toba continues improving after her dental procedure on Friday, May 25. She has a good appetite and is eating well, though she remains partial to softer foods. Caretakers continue to give Toba access to her indoor habitat at Great EscApe during the day and report she is off her post-surgery medications.
UPDATE (6/6/18): While Toba continues to heal, caretakers report her recovery is progressing well. She is still somewhat picky about what foods she will eat, but is...
at Friday, May 25, 2018
Monday, April 16, 2018
Endangered Fishing Cat Kitten Being Hand-Reared by Vet and Animal Care Teams
On March 31, 2018, an endangered fishing cat kitten was born by caesarian delivery at the Oklahoma City Zoo’s Joan Kirkpatrick Animal Hospital, after his mom, Miri, surpassed her expected due date. This is the first successful cesarean delivery of a fishing cat among Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) member zoos in North America.
The gestation period for fishing cats ranges between 63 and 70...
at Monday, April 16, 2018
Tuesday, March 20, 2018
In February, the Curious Case of Bridget’s Mane at the Oklahoma City Zoo became a global sensation with news organizations including CNN, Fox News, National Geographic , The Washington Post and Newsweek providing coverage. Global media from Canada, Russia, the United Kingdom, India and Japan also shared Bridget’s story with their audiences. On social media, the Zoo was inundated with notes of well-wishes, questions about potential medical conditions and requests for...
at Tuesday, March 20, 2018
Monday, February 19, 2018
Oklahoma City Zoo veterinary caretakers are working to solve a very curious case; Bridget, the Zoo’s 18-year-old African lioness, has suddenly sprouted a mini-mane.
In males, manes develop at about one-year-old and are a product of increased production of the hormone testosterone. The OKC Zoo’s male lion, Hubert, 6, has a robust, dark mane while Tia, Bridget’s 18-year-old sister, remains mane-less. Bridget’s mane growth occurred between March and November 2017....
at Monday, February 19, 2018
Monday, December 18, 2017
Compared to animals in the wild, those in human care tend to live significantly longer lives, sometimes doubling life expectancy. This presents unique healthcare challenges to Zoo veterinary staff and requires medical innovations to ensure quality of life is maintained for senior animals.
Dr. Jennifer D’Agostino, director of veterinary services, shared some of the innovative technologies and treatments being implemented at the OKC Zoo to make sure animals live long, happy, healthy...
at Monday, December 18, 2017
Thursday, December 7, 2017
(UPDATE JAN. 16, 2018): After spending a month behind the scenes healing after a soft tissue injury to his left hind leg, six-month-old Sumatran tiger cub, Eko, has now been without a limp for two weeks and is back to his old self! Weather permitting, all four tiger cubs, plus Mom Lola are available for viewing in their Cat Forest habitat at the Zoo.
If you’ve visited the Zoo recently and wondered, “Hey, where’s Eko?” you’re not alone. Eko, a five-month-old...
at Thursday, December 7, 2017
Tuesday, September 5, 2017
The Zoo’s Tiger Cub Cam has brought our tiger family into homes all over the world, and now, we are proud to announce an upcoming milestone for Lola’s four growing cubs - venturing outside for the very first time!
Since its launch on August 10, the Tiger Cub Cam has been viewed over 142,000 times! For our team, the positive responses from those who’ve tuned in have been incredibly rewarding to see. Amur tiger, Zoya’s, successful integration with our three...
at Tuesday, September 5, 2017
Friday, August 4, 2017
Zoo partners with medical experts from Oklahoma’s leading veterinary and human hospitals to provide best medical care for critically endangered wildlife.
On Saturday, June 24, The Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden’s veterinary team collaborated with veterinary and human medical professionals from BluePearl Veterinary Partners, the Oklahoma City VA Medical Center and Oklahoma University Health Sciences to conduct a medical exam on the OKC Zoo’s 32-year-old Western...
at Friday, August 4, 2017
Wednesday, July 19, 2017
The Oklahoma City Zoo & Botanical Garden is celebrating National Zookeeper Week – taking place from July 16 through July 22! While this week is geared toward zookeepers in particular, it's also important to note that the Zoo's veterinary staff plays a vital role in caring for the animals as well. Today, we're highlighting Julia Jones, a veterinary technician (animal nurse) who collaborates with our team of zookeepers every day to ensure that each animal...
at Wednesday, July 19, 2017
Thursday, June 22, 2017
Preventative medicine, including routine examinations and bloodwork, is an important part of the health and wellness of all the animals at the OKC Zoo. Historically, blood samples have only been collected from most of our large collection animals during anesthetic exams. The Veterinary team has been working alongside animal caretakers throughout the Zoo in order to be able to obtain these blood samples voluntarily through operant conditioning, in an effort to work towards decreasing anesthesia...
at Thursday, June 22, 2017
Tuesday, May 9, 2017
Our Great Ape staff at the OKC Zoo has daily opportunities, as well as some challenges, due to working with very large and very smart animals. Gorillas, orangutans and chimpanzees are complex thinkers. Therefore, thinking “outside the box” when it comes to providing excellent health care and enrichment is critically important. Training is a huge part of our daily routine. Most behaviors we train animals to display center around their health care needs. So through training, the apes...
at Tuesday, May 9, 2017
Thursday, March 2, 2017
Facebook is the place where you expect to see old friends, vacation photos and funny videos. But, a surprise sea lion pregnancy announcement from the OKC Zoo? Almost 20 million Facebook friends of Animal Planet were able to hear and see the great news in real time as an ultrasound was verifying our suspicions—all part of the cable network’s Facebook Live stunt.
The Zoo worked with Facebook friend and conservation supporter Animal Planet, along with 18 other national zoos...
at Thursday, March 2, 2017
Monday, December 26, 2016
Breeding and reproduction are important, natural behaviors and normal aspects of the lifecycle for all animals. At the Oklahoma City Zoo, we support the natural breeding behavior of our Asian elephant herd, as it promotes the physical health of the animals and a quality well-being. This quality of life for elephants is best experienced in a natural social structure involving a mixed herd of several different generations.
At the Zoo, the elephants engage in natural breeding behavior. The...
at Monday, December 26, 2016
Friday, September 16, 2016
Last October, I experienced one of the worst days of my life. Thinking about the loss of our elephant calf, Malee, still gets me emotional. Losing her was similar to losing a family member. Nearly one year later, I’m proud to share the Oklahoma City Zoo is making an unprecedented commitment to the health of our elephants. Our zoo will be the first in the country with the capability to conduct critical veterinary testing on site for a virus that affects elephants. This will provide...
at Friday, September 16, 2016