Dogs and cats aren’t the only animals that sometimes need a specialist’s care. On occasion, our wild animal friends at the San Francisco Zoo also benefit from a visit by a veterinary specialist.
Of course, the San Francisco Zoo has its own superb medical team of two full-time veterinarians and three full-time veterinarian technicians, providing continuous care of “the smallest bird to the biggest mammal.” The Zoo’s medical team performs routine examinations to monitor each animal’s health, as well as to establish baseline health records for each animal for future comparison.
However, just as with human medicine and small-animal medicine, a specialist is sometimes needed for complex diagnostic procedures or treatments. As one of the Zoo’s stable (no pun intended) of on-call specialists, SFVS internal medicine specialist Alan Stewart, DVM, DACVIM, volunteers at the Zoo a few times a year on an as-needed basis.
Dr. Stewart’s work at the Zoo has brought him into contact with a number of animals outside his usual dog and cat patient roster! At the Zoo, he’s performed a bronchoscopy on a penguin, a bone marrow aspirate on a gorilla, a liver biopsy on a fishing cat, endoscopy on monkeys … and the list goes on!
According to Dr. Stewart, volunteering at the Zoo is an extremely rewarding experience: “I love working with my canine and feline patients every day, but it is certainly exciting and fulfilling to help out the many different Zoo animals when I’m asked. I also very much enjoy teaming up with the Zoo veterinarians, who provide top-notch, ongoing care for these amazing animals. It is the best way I know how to help our precious, often endangered, species maintain health so that the species can be perpetuated.”
Another SFVS veterinarian soon will be joining the list of Zoo volunteers: Philip Watt, BVSc, MACVSc, FACVS. Specializing in orthopedic procedures, Dr. Watt is one of two SFVS staff surgeons.
We’ll keep you posted on more “SFVS Goes to the Zoo” news!
For more about the San Francisco Zoo and veterinary care, visit the Zoo Hospital page.