COLORADO SPRINGS — A team of eight veterinarians from Powers Pet Emergency and Specialty gathered in the veterinary hospital at Cheyenne Mountain Zoo Thursday. The group was tasked with removing a foreign object from the stomach of nine-month-old mountain lion, Adira.
Adira’s sister, Sequoia, passed away unexpectedly Sunday night while recovering from spay surgery. Because Adira received the same surgery, the CMZoo veterinary team did a post-op exam on her and found the foreign object.
According to the CMZoo, the unintended discovery likely helped to save her life.
Dr. Brianna Backlund, a veterinary internal medicine specialist and skilled endoscopist, and Dr. Brandy Cichocki, veterinary surgeon, were able to remove a 19″-long rubber-coated electrical cord from Adira’s stomach, according to the zoo.
Dr. Cichocki’s surgical team was on hand in CMZoo’s vet hospital in case there were any complications.
“When I walked into the hospital, I was impressed with the medical team assembled in front of me,” said Bob Chastain, president, and CEO of Cheyenne Mountain Zoo. “Watching them work with the scope and getting to see the actual removal of the cord was fascinating. I am so appreciative that partners in our community care enough about an individual mountain lion that they would devote their entire day to saving her.”
Adira’s care team traced the cord back to a scale they used to ensure the cubs were gaining weight appropriately when they were about six months old.
The scale is a heavy, industrial model, and was kept in the cubs’ den with the cord secured under a fence and out of reach of the cubs.
One night in October, the cubs were able to drag the approximately 40-pound scale away from the fence, attacking the cord. In the morning, keepers scoured the area and believed they had recovered all of the pieces.
Adira is now on recovery watch.
“We did see some very mild ulcers, which we believe are a reaction to the presence of the cord,” said CMZoo head veterinarian Dr. Jon Romano. “We gave her antacids and anti-nausea medication that should clear up those minor lesions.”
CMZoo says Adira has returned to her den in Rocky Mountain Wild and was reunited with her brother, Sitka.