Twycross Zoo - Follow Your Heart

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Kristen’s Bitten Off More Than She Can Chew!

Animal Achievement Award

April 2018
Winner: Kristen the Amur leopard
Nominated by: Phillipa Dobbs, Veterinary Associate at Twycross Zoo
For: The first Amur leopard at Twycross Zoo to allow anaesthetic drugs to be injected by hand

Kristen’s Bitten Off More Than She Can Chew!

Kristen is a 6 year old female Amur leopard, born at Usti Zoo in the Czech Republic. She came to Twycross Zoo in February 2013 and has successfully bred two litters of two cubs with male Amur leopard Davidoff.

In February 2018 the decision was made to place a contraceptive implant in Kristen to stop her and Davidoff breeding for 12 months. This was decided to allow time to move her latest cubs to new collections to continue conserving this critically-endangered species.

Over the following weeks Kristen was trained by her keepers to accept her anaesthetic drugs via hand injection. However, a couple of days before her planned anaesthetic her keepers noticed her breath was smelly!

On the day of the procedure, Kristen participated in her routine training session which allowed the anaesthetic drugs to be injected by hand into her left back leg (this is a veterinary first for us at Twycross Zoo!). Within 5 minutes she was fully anaesthetised and it was safe for the veterinary team to carry out her procedure.

On examination of Kristen’s mouth, a piece of wood was found to be wedged between her upper teeth! Wood can be easily break off sticks and get stuck in any animal’s mouth and is a reason why allowing pet dogs to play with sticks should be avoided.

After some manipulation the wood was removed and Kristen’s mouth was cleaned. She was given pain relief and the contraceptive implant was placed as planned. Kristen woke from her anaesthetic without any complications and was given pain relief for a few days after. By the evening of the following day she was back to her normal self.

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