- Bangladesh diaries: tales of a trainee tiger conservationist
- Introducing the Tiger Team
- The big picture of tiger conservation
- Visiting my Chagossian heritage – Yannick Mandarin
- ZSL Cameroon Wildlife Wood Project Bulletin (January to March 2013)
- Egypt Expedition – Meet the team
- The new Principles and Criteria are approved, but challenges remain
- There’s no right way to eat a rhesus
- The RSPO endorses the ZSL High Conservation Value Monitoring System
- Andrea: I think the statement "hunters with metal ammuniti...
- Elsa Lamb: WOW! what an adventure. So sad to see the original...
- Elsa Lamb: What wonderful work you do, I'm so proud of you Ta...
- Marcus Felson: A new center on wildlife crime. A new Symposium t...
- Marcus Felson: Increasingly criminologists are looking at wildlif...
Posted on September 17, 2012
The Grevy’s zebra is the most endangered species of zebra and we hold a herd of eight, including this summer’s foal, at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo.
Unfortunately this week’s patient, Martha, a 21 year old female, has notoriously bad feet. There is most likely a hereditary component as her mum, Mo, had this same problem. Even when trimmed at regular intervals the hooves grow back slightly deformed, making the hoof trims a regular requirement for Martha. Trimming hooves in captive equids is a common procedure, both in domestic horses and in wild equids in zoos and wildlife parks. Hoof care is often performed under anaesthesia and during other procedures – as was the case a couple of weeks ago with the onager. Today’s trim, however, was the main purpose of the anaesthetic.
The vet Nic darted her with drugs to produce a standing sedation and then full anaesthesia. Once she was fully anaesthetised the vet nurse Karla monitored her vital signs and took routine blood samples as well as checking blood gas parameters. Martha was intubated and breathed medical grade oxygen throughout; normal procedure when we anaesthetise any animal.
While Nic clipped and filed the hooves An, our new locum vet, rasped Martha’s teeth as they had noticed a spur on one of the molars.
When we have animals asleep like this it gives us a brilliant opportunity to do a general health check and it was during this the tooth spur was noticed. Although she is a very tolerant zebra who will get up close to the keepers on a daily basis so they usually spot problems at the first sign, it is still good for the veterinary team to have a look as they might notice problems that would not be seen (such as inside the ears or in the mouth as in this case).
Back on her feet Martha stayed in the stable for a few hours before joining the other zebras in the grass paddock; we will keep an eye on her feet and probably repeat the procedure in 6 months time.