Audubon’s baby orangutan continues to have health struggles – KION546

Audubon's baby orangutan continues to have health struggles – KION546
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By the WDSU digital team

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NEW ORLEANS, Louisiana (WDSU) – Audubon Zoo’s newborn orangutan continues to receive 24-hour care with zoo vets and the children’s hospital.

The zoo turned to the hospital after the infant showed signs of weakness and not breastfeeding.

Zoo officials said the infant continued to have difficulty breastfeeding, but supplemental tube feeding was found to be effective.

“Our dedicated team is awaiting further test results to get a better idea of ​​the infant’s general health and whether there is confirmation of central hypothyroidism. We can’t begin to thank our primate care staff, vets, and counselors at New Orleans Children’s Hospital and the Orangutan Species Survival Plan enough. We also deeply appreciate the support the community has shown our little guy, ”Audubon Zoo said in a statement on the condition of the orangutan.

Based on concerns about the infant’s body temperature and weight, the team stepped in to hand-raise and bottle-feed him until he could be safely reunited with Menari, according to the reports. zoo officials.

“The infant care team also noticed that their sucking response was poor and inconsistent,” Audubon senior veterinarian Bob MacLean said in a statement. “The New Orleans Children’s Hospital has offered its support to the critically endangered infant by providing the expertise of a clinical speech-language pathologist and breastfeeding specialists. Lactation specialists work with the infant to assess their sucking reflex and train our team to stimulate the appropriate sucking response. So far it has been very successful.

The Children’s Hospital tests the infant’s blood in the hospital, providing Audubon with faster results than a veterinary lab. Lab work so far points to possible central hypothyroidism, according to the zoo.

“Central hypothyroidism slows normal metabolic growth and is relatively rare, found in only 1 in 100,000 infants,” MacLean said. “While waiting to validate the results, we plan to administer medication to alleviate the disease and work with the Species Survival Plan veterinary advisor to prepare a treatment plan if this proves to be problematic.”

Audubon officials said there are a number of key milestones the baby will need to reach before being reunited with his mother.

The infant should establish a consistent feeding response and Menari should produce enough milk to feed him. The infant care team should also assess the infant’s possible hypothyroidism and its response to treatment, according to the zoo.

“We have high hopes that it will continue to improve under the 24/7 care of our dedicated primate team,” said General Curator and Vice President of Audubon Zoo Bob Lessnau, in a press release. “We are very grateful for our team of expert consultants and for the outpouring of community support for this critically endangered infant.”

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