Lions get a veterinary checkup

Dr Peter Caldwell has had a busy day at the ADI Wildlife Sanctuary checking our residents. Five lions were sedated for examination and blood/urine samples for testing: ReyA, Leo, Muñeca, Kiara2 and Africa. The most common health issues that our rescued lions face are related to the abuse and deprivation suffered in their former circus life, including: dental problems due to teeth being smashed and left to get infected, eye problems from malnutrition or brain damage from blows to the head and arthritis due to lack of exercise and living on hard, urine-soaked boards. We will often see a significant improvement in cataracts when the lions are put on a healthy diet and the problems can be held at bay for several years, but it does tend to return. ADI rescued all of these lions from circuses in Peru 8 years ago.

Leo and Muñeca, our oldest lions aged at least 19 years old, do not need to see the dentist but are showing the signs of old age. Leo is now fed twice a day by hand-held tongs (which he seems to enjoy), to keep his weight up.

Leo and Muñeca’s daughters Africa and Kiara2 were examined and then taken to Old Chapel Veterinary Clinic where Dr Steenkamp will be doing some dental work. Kiara2 is blind in one eye due to a cataract and Dr Caldwell will remove the eye to prevent the usual progression to infection.

Amazonas was assessed without sedation for a similar eye problem which, Dr Caldwell says will eventually need removal.

Several of our resident lions have lived with an eye removed, they adapt well and removal does not seem to cause them any problems.

We are currently closely monitoring 15-year-old Rey A (from Ayacucho, Peru) who began limping earlier in the week, and has lost his appetite. We managed to get him to take some food mixed with egg, so we’ll try that together with medication, for the next few days. There are no visible signs of an injury to the leg and his joints were flexible. Blood and urine samples were taken for analysis.

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