|Veterinary Specialty Hospital of the Carolinas Creates Special Partnership With the North Carolina Zoo
Cary, N.C. –June 6, 2008 –The Veterinary Specialty Hospital of the Carolinas (VSH) announced today a partnership with the North Carolina Zoo in which VSH will provide specialty veterinary surgeries and procedures for animals at the zoo.
Over the last several years, Dr. Gary Spodnick, Chief of Surgery at VSH, has performed numerous surgeries on a variety of zoo animals including elephants, gorillas, wart hogs, lions, kangaroos, goats and even a polar bear.
“At VSH we only work with cats and dogs so it is a treat to be able to use my experience and training to help the zoo animals,” said Dr. Spodnick. “Not many veterinarians get to see these animals up close and personal.”
Most recently, Dr. Spodnick performed a vital pulpotomy on an elephant calf’s broken tusk. He worked with the veterinarians at the zoo to clean the dead pulp and fill it with calcium hydroxide so that the tusk would not get infected and could continue to grow.
Dr. Spodnick performs most of the surgeries at the zoo but occasionally an animal is small enough to be treated at VSH. For example, a trumpeter hornbill had an injured knee and was small enough to be transported to VSH’s Cary facility where Dr. Spodnick was able to surgically repair the bird’s knee.
“Working with zoo animals is different and similar to dogs and cats. Some zoo animals have the equivalent anatomy to cats and dogs and some animals have very unique species specific attributes,” said Dr. Spodnick. “The post surgical care is what separates the domesticated animals from the ones in the wild. It is difficult to keep a zoo animal sedated after surgery. With dogs and cats, we can keep them hooked up to IVs and monitored. With zoo animals, once they wake up from the anesthesia, they are back in the wild. There is not but so much monitoring that can be done.”
The goal of the partnership is to provide the zoo veterinarians with additional access to veterinary specialists while providing public exposure to the work being done at both organizations.
“The animals at the zoo belong to all North Carolinians. We care about our animals just like VSH’s clients care about their pets,” said Russ Williams, the North Carolina Zoo Society’s Executive Director. “Our participation in the partnership allows us to tap into VSH’s specialty services so that we can enhance the veterinary care we are able to provide the animals at the zoo. Dr. Spodnick has a great relationship with our veterinarians and together we are able to shed light on the incredible work done by both organizations.”
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