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ASCS Doctors Join Forces with University of Washington Physicians to Treat Gorilla with Leg Injury

Here at ASCS, we are known for treating companion animals such as dogs and cats, but many of you may also be aware of our long standing relationship with the Woodland Park Zoo. When they have a case that needs our attention, we are always happy to help out. Even if that case involves a 275 pound gorilla!

When Jamoke, a 32 year old female lowland gorilla was seen limping after an altercation with a younger female gorilla in her group, due to the nature of her injury, the expertise of area specialists in both human and animal medicine was summoned to help diagnose and treat her injuries.

Our own Dr. Leslie Eide, head of the ASCS rehabilitation department, and Dr. Alex Aguila, ASCS surgeon, joined Dr. Kimberly Harmon, a UW Medicine physician specializing in sports medicine, family medicine and orthopedic health and head physician of the University of Washington’s football team and Dr. Albert Gee, a sports orthopedic surgeon at UW Medicine, in the treatment and rehabilitation of Jamoke.

It was explained by the zoo’s animal curator, Martin Ramirez that relationships among gorillas in a social setting are pretty harmonious, but “like a human teenager acting out,” scuffles between certain adult and adolescent members are not that uncommon.

Whatever the cause, when a zoo animal sustains an injury, it is imperative to diagnose and treat it with the utmost care and expediency, explained Dr. Darrin Collins, the Woodland Park Zoo’s director of animal health. So he called in the experts.

The unique and highly skilled team used radiography, ultrasound and palpation (manipulation of her limb), to look for both bony and soft tissue injuries.

The radiographs revealed a non-displaced fracture of her right tibia, which showed signs of healing on its own, so surgery was not called for at the time, but they also discovered a small open wound which contained a bone fragment. Dr. Aguila explained that infection may have been slowing the healing process, so it was important to debride and irrigate the wound, leaving behind healthy tissue. A culture of the area was done as well.

While she was anesthetized for her exam, Dr. Leslie Eide administered shock wave therapy to her injured leg to further stimulate the healing process. Jamoke was also treated with antibiotics and painkillers to make her more comfortable during her recovery and she will continue with more passive modes of physical rehabilitation as she heals.

We would like to thank all the specialists involved, who volunteered their time and effort on behalf of this magnificent animal.

For more on this exciting story, please visit the Woodland Park Zoo’s blog.


Posted November 15, 2017 by Animal Surgical in ASCS News with No Comments

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