Today was Raja's annual physical exam so I thought I'd share a few photos. Each animal at the Zoo receives a yearly physical to review their health status and check for any potential problems. In Raja's case it is especially important to keep close tabs on his health as he has been under treatment for renal (kidney) disease for several years. We have been able to control it through diet and medication, but more problems will likely surface as he ages. At nearly twelve, he is still in great shape, but is definitely pushing past his prime.
To conduct Raja's physical, our vet immobilizes him by injecting him with an anesthetic. Fortunately, Raja is very comfortable working with us (well, me...not our vet!) so I can easily load him into a transport kennel to receive his injection. Once he is asleep we bring him in our van up to the Zoo's hospital where he is hooked up to the anesthesia machine to be sure he STAYS asleep. Believe me, as nice as Raja is, you DON'T want a clouded leopard to wake up during his exam!
Once he's immobilized, our vet and vet tech leap into action to collect all the samples they need, take radiographs, and do a full body exam. Today Taryn, our vet tech intern, had the honors of collecting a blood sample. She did an awesome job, getting his vein on her first time! Pretty nice way to cap the last day of her internship.
Our vet doesn't just serve as Raja's doctor, but his dentist as well. He had some tartar build up so he had a full cleaning. Here is the before photo:
Here's the cleaning:
And here is the sparkly result!
Another thing we often do when we have an animal immobilized is to make paw prints to give to donors, use in education programs, or just for keepers to have as momentos of the animals we work with. Sometimes we take casts, but more commonly (because it's way easier) we use washable paint to just print tracks. We got some nice ones from Raja today.
We'll get the results from his blood and urine tests in a few days. Hopefully the report will be a clean bill of health for our handsome boy!