Sumatran tiger cubs have annual physicals

By Jessa Franck, Keeper

Last week the Sacramento Zoo’s three Sumatran tiger cubs had their first annual veterinary exams. They had plenty of vet check-ups as small cubs, but these were first physicals that will now be performed only on a yearly basis barring other problems. The exams were performed behind the scenes in the Rare Feline House because the Dr. Murray E. Fowler Veterinary Hospital had experienced some electrical issues due to the big storm that hit everyone in the area so hard the first week of January. It takes a whole team of people to successfully coordinate these events to ensure the animals recieve anesthesia for as short a time as possible. We had two vets, a vet tech, a veterinary resident, two veterinary students, and several carnivore area keepers helping out. Each of the cubs received vaccinations including rabies and distemper. The vets also drew blood samples to check for problems and to use for a baseline comparison in the future. Weights were taken, too, ranging from 190 to 205 pounds! They still have a way to go to catch up to their dad at 305 pounds. Some of the cubs’ deciduous, or baby, teeth were still in evidence. They were gradually being pushed out by what will become four inch canines, but the vets decided to speed the process along. Our lions had the same problem with retained baby teeth when they first arrived, too. The cubs recovered well and were back on exhibit with their mom the following day.
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