Which animal do you think weighs more?
Gus, the black bear
Lightning, the donkey
Post your guesses in the comment section!
It is with a heavy heart that I report the loss of our opossum Galileo. Recently he started to show signs of heavy labored breathing and his appetite had decreased greatly. We took him to the vet for x-rays on Tuesday October 15, 2013 and found that he had fluid in his chest cavity that was preventing him from breathing properly. It was determined that he needed to be euthanized. The final results of the necropsy are still pending, but the gross necropsy showed fluid around his heart leading to cardiomyopathy. For the first time since I started working here at the museum we will be without an opossum. I don’t know what I will do without one of these amazing animals to greet me every morning during AM treatments. He will be greatly missed. Below are some pictures of Galileo hanging out in the department.
Galileo has been the subject of several previous blog posts too.
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.
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.
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.
Cynthia needed a couple bad teeth removed. She did great under sedation- staying asleep when we wanted and waking when we wanted.
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.
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.
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!
This week the red ruffed lemurs got their annual physicals.
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.
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.
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:
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).
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!
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!