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At the OKC Zoo, Go Wild!

Category: Veterinary Science

Eye-dentifying a Solution: 19-year-old Lioness Undergoes Eye Surgery

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... Read More
at Tuesday, June 11, 2019
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OKC Zoo Pioneers Elephant Stem Cell Treatment

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... Read More
at Wednesday, May 29, 2019
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Broken Bo: Tracing Gorilla Bo's Journey Back from a Break

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... Read More
at Tuesday, February 12, 2019
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Vet Tech Profile: Liz McCae

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... Read More
at Friday, October 19, 2018
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Vet Tech Profile: Stephanie Elliott

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... Read More
at Monday, October 15, 2018
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OKC Zoo Gorilla Undergoes First-Ever Robot-Assisted Surgery

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... Read More
at Monday, September 24, 2018
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Toba TLC: A Few Teeth Lighter, But on the Mend

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... Read More
at Friday, May 25, 2018
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Fishing for a Miracle

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... Read More
at Monday, April 16, 2018
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Mini-Mane Mystery Solved: Blood Test Results Provide Unexpected Answer

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... Read More
at Tuesday, March 20, 2018
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The Curious Case of Bridget's Mane

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.... Read More
at Monday, February 19, 2018
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Innovating for OKC Zoo's Aging Animals

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... Read More
at Monday, December 18, 2017
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Where's Eko? Tiger Cub Health Update

(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... Read More
at Thursday, December 7, 2017
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Cubproofing - Preparing for the Next Milestone!

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... Read More
at Tuesday, September 5, 2017
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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... Read More
at Friday, August 4, 2017
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Vet Technician Highlight: Julia Jones

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... Read More
at Wednesday, July 19, 2017
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First Great Ape Blood Draw at the OKC Zoo

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... Read More
at Thursday, June 22, 2017
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Providing Innovative Health Care: Necessity is the Mother of Invention!

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... Read More
at Tuesday, May 9, 2017
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Pearl’s Pregnancy Revealed in Animal Planet’s Global Facebook Live Event

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... Read More
at Thursday, March 2, 2017
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Breeding: A Natural Behavior that Supports Well-being

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... Read More
at Monday, December 26, 2016
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A Promise to Elephants

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... Read More
at Friday, September 16, 2016
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