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Gorillas to undergo general physical examinations

Kiki, a western lowland gorilla, as well as her youngest offspring Azize will be put under anesthesia tomorrow at Franklin Park Zoo so the zoo’s veterinary staff can examine both of them. Due to the scheduled exams, Okie will be the only gorilla on exhibit on Friday, June 10 within the Tropical Forest.

Kiki’s routine examination will include a general physical examination, 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. Azize, who was born on May 14, 2015, will receive a full examination.

While the examinations are considered routine preventative care, whenever anesthesia is administered there is always a risk to the animals and people involved in the procedure.

“Gorillas are wild animals and as such, pre-anesthetic evaluations as extensive as those that would routinely be done on people and domestic animals, are not possible,” said Dr. Eric Baitchman, Zoo New England Director of Veterinary Services. “Any animal immobilization involving general anesthesia always carries some risk. We never enter into these procedures lightly and every possible effort is made to keep the animal, as well as the people involved in the procedure, safe and healthy.”

A veterinary cardiologist, a veterinary anesthesiologist as well as other specialists will be on hand to assist during the exams.