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AfriCat Annual Health Checks - 2017

health check 2017 team africathealth check 2017 africat

This year the AfriCat Annual Health Check took place between 26 and 30 June, 2017. It was coordinated by Dr Adrian Tordiffe, Dr Gerhard Steenkamp and Dr Diethardt Rodenwoldt. They were assisted by Dr Roxanne Buck and Dr Gareth Zeiler, who were responsible for anaesthesia, and Dr Maria Geremek and student veterinarian Katarzyna Kolodziejczyk from Poland. A recently qualified vet, Dr Joel Alves, from Onderstepoort, University of Pretoria, who is currently working towards his Masters, also joined us from South Africa.

dr adrian tordifferedr diethardt rodenwoldtdr gerhard steenkamp

We were very happy to be assisted by two groups of volunteers from the United States 'Ultimate Safaris volunteers' and from the United Kingdom 'Steppes Travel volunteers'. The volunteers pay a fare fee to be part of the experience of the Annual Health Check.

health check volunteers steepeshealth check volunteers

During the health check, 29 captive carnivores (23 cheetahs, 4 leopards and 2 lions) were immobilized and examined and to collect samples for a registered research project - The long-term health monitoring and immune-competence of captive cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus) and other felids at AfriCat in Namibia.

All the animals were weighed. Blood and urine samples were collected and haematology and serum biochemistry profiles were performed for each animal. They were vaccinated against the feline calici virus, feline pan-leucopoenia virus, feline herpes virus and feline rhinotracheitis. They were also vaccinated against rabies. Three cheetahs were treated for internal parasites. All animals were found to be free of external parasites. The two lions (Shenzi and Shavula) were tested for FeLV and FIV and were found to be negative for both viruses.

Shenzi the lion africat health checkshenzi fiv testsshavulas fiv tests

Abdominal ultrasound examinations were performed on all the anaesthetized cheetahs and one leopard. Gastric biopsies were collected from 18 of the cheetahs using a flexible endoscope to assess the extent of gastritis in the captive population. The animals were checked by Dr. Gerhard Steenkamp for dental abnormalities and root canal treatments and/or extractions were performed in the few instances indicated.

In general, the animals were found to be in good health, taking into consideration the advanced age of a few of the cheetahs.

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