X

Examination Goes Smoothly for Western Lowland Gorilla

Gorilla Kit Exam
Kitombe, a western lowland gorilla, was put under anesthesia today at Franklin Park Zoo so the Zoo’s veterinary staff could examine him.

This was a routine physical examination for Kitombe, who is affectionately known as Kit. The exam included a general physical, blood work and a cardiac exam. The results received from the cardiac exam will go into a national database to assist in diagnosing cardiac disease in other gorillas.

“Everything went very smoothly with this examination and Kit appears to be in good health. We are very pleased with how everything went this morning,” said Dr. Eric Baitchman, who added, “We have a tremendous team and this was a well-coordinated examination involving several different departments at the Zoo as well as specialists that we asked to assist us. This level of teamwork plays an important role in ensuring that we have a safe and smooth procedure for the animals and the staff.”

The entire exam lasted approximately two hours. Full blood work and cardiac results are not expected for a couple of weeks. Within about 30 minutes of the exam completion, Kit was awake and walking.

Through the well established training programs, zookeepers and veterinarians are able to regularly listen to the gorillas’ heartbeats, administer injections and check their eyes, ears, teeth, feet and hands. Routine exams such as the one Kit underwent are necessary to get a fuller picture of the animal’s overall health.

Zoo New England was assisted during the exam by Dr. Lisa Bourazak, anesthesiology resident at the The Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tuft’s University; Dr. Brian Bergmark, cardiology fellow at Brigham and Women’s Hospital; Dr. Nancy Laste and Dr. Ashley Jones, veterinarian cardiologists, at The MSPCA’s Angell Animal Medical Center; Bobbie Boyd, cardiac sonographer at the Sibley Heart Center in Atlanta, who joined as a representative of the Great Ape Heart Project, based at Zoo Atlanta.

Pictured above:
Dr. Lisa Bourazak, anesthesiology resident at the The Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tuft’s University; Dr. Brian Bergmark, cardiology fellow at Brigham and Women’s Hospital; Dr. Nancy Laste, Director of Medical Services at The MSPCA’s Angell Animal Medical Center; and Bobbie Boyd, cardiac sonographer at the Sibley Heart Center in Atlanta, who joined as a representative of the Great Ape Heart Project, based at Zoo Atlanta. (Not pictured: Dr. Ashley Jones, veterinarian cardiologist at The MSPCA’s Angell Animal Medical Center)