As well as taking temperatures and examining poo samples our vets use many other methods to monitor the health of our animals, such as:
• Measuring the heart rate…of a marmoset
• Using ultrasound…
• Taking radiographs…
• Taking blood samples…
Decisions to vaccinate are made by analysing the risk of animals contracting certain diseases.
The vets also consider whether the vaccine has been used on zoo animals before and if there are any risks from the vaccine itself.
Case study – The big cats
It is known that members of the cat family can suffer from Feline Leukaemia Virus.
Our vets had to decide whether to vaccinate our lions, tigers, jaguars and cheetahs so they asked themselves these questions:
Should they vaccinate the big cats?
Q. Are the cats susceptible to the disease? A. Yes
Q. Is there risk of exposure in the Zoo? A. Yes, from feral cats
Q. Is there a vaccine available? A. Yes, for domestic cats
Q. Has it been used on big cats before? A. Yes, on tigers
Q. Are there side effects? A. Minimal
We vaccinate our big cats with Pentofel – the same as for pet cats.
Vaccinations of our big cats usually takes place using a dart-gun