Health/Vet Posts

by , Keeper
I graduated from NCSU(go pack) and have worked in the animal department for about 8 years. Some of my favorites include ferrets and birds. I am also known for my weird obsession with Boba Fett.
I work Tuesday-Saturday in either the Farmyard or inside the main building behind the scenes.

Godzilla

October 24th, 2013

There have been many instances where the keepers go through difficult times. Unfortunately, we experienced the loss of our education bearded dragon, Godzilla.

Godzilla was with us for a long time. When he first came, I would tend to have him resting on me when I sat in the office where he chilled and just looked around.

We noticed Godzilla not acting his usual self and his appetite declined. He was taken off program usage and allowed to get rest and the vet care he needed. Godzilla never made a recovery and the best thing to do was euthanize him.

I felt very sad, but I knew Godzilla had  great care at the museum and he was a popular program animal.

 

 

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by , Director
I've been at the Museum sooooo long - longer than many of our interns have been alive. I do a little bit of everything as part of my job: care for the animals, work with the keepers and other staff, spend time with guests. Lucky me!
I spend a lot of time behind-the-scenes, or here after hours, but if you really want to see me, you'll have to sign-up for a behind-the-scenes program.

Wolf on the table

October 18th, 2013

October is wolf physical month. This is the one time of year we get our hands on the wolves and check them out. We were particularly looking forward to getting the male, 1414, on the table. He is huge (almost 80 pounds) and he came to us with a growth on the side of his body that we wanted to look at and remove.

Since 1414 arrived in November 2012, this was our first experience with him for a physical. We learned he is a great patient once he gets on the table. However, he did not “go to sleep” on the same timeline that other wolves have when given their pre-sedation medicine. Typically, while in the crate, we inject some medicine to make the wolves go to sleep. 10-20 minutes later, we can safely muzzle them and move them to the treatment table and do all we need to do.

1414 took over 70 minutes to get somewhat sleepy. Long story short, we finally got him to the table. He is so big he basically filled up the table.

Dr. Vanderford checks out his ears.

Basically, he was in great shape except for the growth on the side of his body. Dr. Vanderford was able to remove it, although it took awhile. The wolf  will spend a few days in a holding cage to limit his movement, but all seems to be okay.

We’ll catch the female up another day and do her physical so we should have more photos to show you soon.

look closely by Jessi and you can see a shaved section on the wolf and the mass is right there.

 

Join the conversation:

  1. Thank you for the behind the scenes look at how veterinary care for these guys is done. Great work!

    Posted by JesstheLVT
  2. Thank you so much for sharing your blog with us! Even as a technician student, I know the job market for a CVT wanting to do something like this is very competitive! It’s at least nice to see how it’s done even if the chance I’d get to work with them myself is slim to none:)

    Posted by Light

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by , Director
I've been at the Museum sooooo long - longer than many of our interns have been alive. I do a little bit of everything as part of my job: care for the animals, work with the keepers and other staff, spend time with guests. Lucky me!
I spend a lot of time behind-the-scenes, or here after hours, but if you really want to see me, you'll have to sign-up for a behind-the-scenes program.

Last week’s vet visit

October 7th, 2013

Dr. Vanderford was here last week for a visit to check on some of the critters. We had two sedations planned for the day: Henry and Cynthia.

Dr. V getting meds ready

 

Cynthia needed a couple bad teeth removed. She did great under sedation- staying asleep when we wanted and waking when we wanted.

Cynthia awaking in her crate.

 

Henry, on the other hand, was a different story. First of all, it’s difficult to hold him- at least it is not safe to hold him as you never know when he will turn on you. So in order to sedate him, we place him in a box and pump anesthesia in.

Henry getting sleepy

 

Henry sleepy

We’re not sure exactly why, but sedation doesn’t seem to work on Henry like it should on paper. We upped his meds this year and still, he was never fully sedated. This made a complete physical a bit tricky. Next year we’ll have to try new drugs on him.

Both critters are fine. Next week the wolves will have their physicals. Katy is aching to get her hands on the male so it should be an exciting day.

 

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by , Keeper
I've been at the museum since 2010. I love to read and learn; it's rare that a day goes by at work when I'm not suppressing the urge to spew out something cool I just learned to my coworkers. In my spare time, I play the 'cello, snuggle my dog and reminisce about snowmen and Nor'easters.
I work Sunday through Thursday. You can find me raking the Farmyard in the morning or training the donkey and dwarf goats in the afternoon.

Colorful Chemistry

September 4th, 2013

We run weekly water quality tests on all of our fish, alligator and turtle tanks in the Animal Department. We monitor the waters’ pH and the levels of Ammonia and Nitrates. This is important because aquatic animals are often very sensitive to chemical changes in the water they live in and drink; more so than their terrestrial relatives.

 

10 tanks plus 1 “control” tank (filtered water, to make sure the tests are working properly)

 

The end result: 33 test tubes of some very pretty colors!

Join the conversation:

  1. eeek that some high nitrates you got there, may want to get those under control. Time for some water changes

    Posted by mattS
  2. Keeper Comment :

    Yes, Matt, the nitrates did test pretty high this week. This is normal for our turtle tanks at the end of the month. Because we do 100% water changes every 3 or 4 weeks and clean all of the decorations in the turtle tanks, the ammonia and nitrates are constantly in a state of cycling. So this week, the ammonia was testing very low and the nitrates are very high. This constant cycling doesn’t happen with our Bluegills, as we don’t do such dramatic water changes for them.

    Posted by Sarah Van de Berg

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by , Director
I've been at the Museum sooooo long - longer than many of our interns have been alive. I do a little bit of everything as part of my job: care for the animals, work with the keepers and other staff, spend time with guests. Lucky me!
I spend a lot of time behind-the-scenes, or here after hours, but if you really want to see me, you'll have to sign-up for a behind-the-scenes program.

lemur physicals

August 16th, 2013

This week the red ruffed lemurs got their annual physicals.

QUIZ: who’s wearing the blue gloves, who’s wearing the white gloves, and whose sneakers are showing?

All three girls- Cynthia, Iris, and Jethys-  did great. Each one, from pre-sedation to reversal took 37 minutes. We’re waiting for blood work to come back, but everyone’s initial findings seemed to be okay. Our girls are getting old so I always have concerns about what the tests will show. Cynthia is almost 32 years old. The Duke lemur center only has one red ruffed lemur older than her.

 

Annie’s job at the end was to keep each lemur warm, make sure they awoke with no issue, and then put them in their crate.

 

Annie always takes notes during the physicals and makes sure the Dr. Vanderford and Katy get everything done on the list. This year she had an added bonus of holding the lemurs at the end.

Katy was running a rectal thermometer and an ear thermometer to see if the temperatures were the same (which they were).

Hopefully all the blood work comes back okay! In September, we’ll do physicals on the ring tailed lemurs. (More pictures then.

Join the conversation:

  1. Blue gloves-Sherry
    White gloves-Katy
    Sitting in the chair- Annie

    Posted by Ranger Ro
  2. CORRECT!

    Posted by sherry

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by , Director
I've been at the Museum sooooo long - longer than many of our interns have been alive. I do a little bit of everything as part of my job: care for the animals, work with the keepers and other staff, spend time with guests. Lucky me!
I spend a lot of time behind-the-scenes, or here after hours, but if you really want to see me, you'll have to sign-up for a behind-the-scenes program.

Another visit from Dr. English

August 7th, 2013

Dr. English, a board certified veterinary ophthalmologist, was by last Thursday to check on a bunch of the animals with eye issues. He and his team saw 10 of our animals: 2 lemurs, the donkey, a rabbit, the hawk, 2 screech owls, 2 barred owls, and a salamander. We’re so thankful that Dr. English comes and checks on the animals who need his help. He tracks any changes in patients’ eyes from previous visits and checks out new animals who we have concerns about. We’ve also taken owls to him for surgery: all of which he graciously and generously donates.

Usually I post photos of the owls and Dr. English, but this year the best photos I took were of the largest and smallest patient:

Dr. English getting his fancy eye equipment in focus.I don’t know what any of his machines are called, but they are all really cool!

 

Lightning the donkey was the first patient. He did great!

 

Dr. Fisher who works with Dr. English checks out Baby, our spotted salamander.

So Baby, our spotted salamander, is typically teased by Dr. English for having a “stupid” name (she arrived over 15 years ago as a “baby”) and being “fat”. This year, similar to last year, Dr. English thought Baby’s eyes looked better and that she had trimmed down in weight. Below, everyone is laughing because I went to Baby’s health record and learned the past two years she had gained weight! (It must all be muscle).

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by , Keeper
I've been at the museum since 2010. I love to read and learn; it's rare that a day goes by at work when I'm not suppressing the urge to spew out something cool I just learned to my coworkers. In my spare time, I play the 'cello, snuggle my dog and reminisce about snowmen and Nor'easters.
I work Sunday through Thursday. You can find me raking the Farmyard in the morning or training the donkey and dwarf goats in the afternoon.

QuikPic: The Rabbits Are Shedding

July 30th, 2013

I had more bunny fur on me than Jean!

 

All the fur! And they’re not even close to finished shedding. (And yes, that’s Franklin the Tortoise in the background, he gets exercise time in the farmyard once in a while)

Join the conversation:

  1. that’s crazy!

    Posted by sherry
  2. My corgis do that.

    Posted by Wendy

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by , Behavior Consultant
I've been working with the museum since 2009 as a Behavior Management Consultant. I work with keepers and staff to gain the voluntary cooperation of the animals in their own care through operant conditioning.
You can find me teaching at Davidson County Community College, or through my business website Animalworksconsulting.com.

Let’s all get weighed!

July 20th, 2013

Keepers are enjoying the new scale in the farmyard, and so are the critters.  Here’s some video of Max and the alpacas getting weighed.

Max’s training focused on keeping him calm as he walked from his enclosure to the scale – he tends to get excited when he goes for a walk.  And 1600 pounds of excited steer can be difficult to manage.  But look how calm he is!

YouTube Preview Image

The alpaca training is more focused on helping them tolerate the brief separation from the rest of the alpacas as they walk to the scale.  Its helpful for them to learn to be separated for short periods of time so they can more easily tolerate vet visits and shearings in the future.  Lots of good clicking and treating going on in the farmyard by keepers Kent, Sarah and Jill!

YouTube Preview Image

Join the conversation:

  1. Good to see our Animal Department is steering in the right direction!

    Posted by Wendy

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by , Director
I've been at the Museum sooooo long - longer than many of our interns have been alive. I do a little bit of everything as part of my job: care for the animals, work with the keepers and other staff, spend time with guests. Lucky me!
I spend a lot of time behind-the-scenes, or here after hours, but if you really want to see me, you'll have to sign-up for a behind-the-scenes program.

Ultrasound for a Snake

July 16th, 2013

Last Thursday Katy and I took Todd, our black rat snake in for an ultrasound of his heart. Since Dr. Godshalk, a board certified veterinary radiologist, doesn’t have a lot of snakes for clients, we had to bring a “normal” snake so she could compare the heart of one to the other. We took the snakes to VSH in Cary- this is where, 3 years ago, Dr. Godshalk helped us out with Cassandra’s brush with death. All went well.

Todd was a great patient!

G, our healthy corn snake was used as a comparison, and we checked out the anatomy poster before beginning.

 

Dr. Godshalk checked out G first to get some normal sizes to compare to.

 

We learned that Todd’s heart is huge- and not in a good way. We’ll gather the results and figure out the best next steps.

 

Join the conversation:

  1. Might a large heart indicate that Todd is really athletic (IronSnake?) or that he’s just really kind?

    Did Dr. Godshalk consider these options? ;)

    Very cool post. Look forward to the updates.

    Posted by Michele
  2. How did you know he was having heart problems?

    Posted by Wendy
  3. Director Comment :

    unfortunately, this large heart is not a good thing. We haven’t determined the next best ways to proceed yet.

    As far as us noticing, this snake has had interesting issues on and off. Quite honestly, Katy noticed one day she could see the snake’s heart beating… not usually able to be seen by the naked eye.

    Posted by Sherry Samuels
  4. Kudos to Katy, only one of the Museum’s wonderful keepers, for noticing Todd’s heart problem. Also read an older blog where the keepers noticed Cassandra the lemur’s respiratory problem early which saved her and that blog said it was during Keeper’s Appreciation Week. Think Cassandra’s blog was last July either this week or next week. Thank the keepers!!!

    Posted by dj

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by , Director
I've been at the Museum sooooo long - longer than many of our interns have been alive. I do a little bit of everything as part of my job: care for the animals, work with the keepers and other staff, spend time with guests. Lucky me!
I spend a lot of time behind-the-scenes, or here after hours, but if you really want to see me, you'll have to sign-up for a behind-the-scenes program.

Another Difficult Goodbye: You’ll be missed Chummix

April 15th, 2013

We started the blog over 5 years ago. Our goal was to bring you into the life of a Keeper at the Museum. Death is a part of life. Some animals die on their own, others are euthanized. In fact our very first blog post was about saying goodbye to Moo.

As we’ve written previously, some days are tough and some days suck. Today has been one of those days. I’ve written in the past year about Chummix  and his “old goat disease“. We’ve been monitoring him and the keepers have been working hard to keep him eating. This past week it was determined that it was time to euthanize him.

 

Chummix will be missed by keepers, guests, staff, volunteers, and likely by Max. I’ve already received condolences from several staff members and friends. For those folks who especially cared about Chummix, my condolences go out to you as well. We’re often asked, “what can I do?”. (A few years back I wrote some suggestions- click here for ideas).

it’s hard to remember that Chummix was once bigger than Max!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Below are links to some of my favorite blog posts about Chummix.

Chummix and successful training

“Chummix’s” New Year’s Resolutions  (Resolution # 2)

Chummix’s flehmen’s response

Chummix in the rabbit pen

 

Chummix would always head butt things when I was around- ALWAYS. I think this is how I will always remember him.

 

Join the conversation:

  1. I’m so sorry for your loss. Chummix was awesome.

    Posted by Leslie
  2. He was the first animal that injured me so that I had to go to the dr!
    While Chummix and I didn’t see eye to eye on a lot of things , I will certainly miss him

    Posted by Jill
  3. I always looked forward to seeing Chum on my daily walks. He will certainly be missed.

    Posted by Ranger Ro
  4. RIP Chummix. We’ll miss you and your crazy eyes.

    Posted by Rhiannon
  5. A sad time, but comforted knowing that Chummix had good, long life with such a great team looking after him. Thanks to all of the keepers for the care you give to all of the critters that live at the Museum. Thinking of you all.

    Posted by Janet

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