Recently, two of our resident great apes made appearances in the Animal Care Center. First, one of our chimpanzees, Penny, came in for a wellness exam. A check-up for a chimpanzee involves a lot of what you would expect—our vets took radiographs (X-rays) and performed an ultrasound on her internal organs, checked her teeth, and took some blood and cytology samples.
What you might not expect would be our keepers giving Penny a nail trim while the vets did their work. When was the last time you got a mani/pedi at the doctor’s office?
The next day one of our gorillas, Mary, came in for her physical. This was Mary’s first wellness exam with us since her arrival from a zoo in Texas, so our vets were extra thorough. Because gorillas, like us, are prone to heart disease after a certain age, we even had a guest cardiologist join us to conduct an echocardiogram.
It turns out, there’s a lot to be learned from each other when experts in different specialties come together! In the end, Mary looked to be in very good health; she just needed a few extractions.
But don’t worry—in the Animal Center’s kitchen we whipped up some smoothies out of her favorite foods for her to drink during her recovery. Even so, within a day or two Mary started eating solid foods on her own again.
The most amazing part of all of this—to me, anyway—was that, even though both of these patients were already under anesthesia when they arrived at the Animal Care Center, they both had voluntarily taken an injection in their own homes under the watchful and caring eye of their keepers. What more credit to the wonderful relationship our keepers have with their animals could you ask for?