The Ellen Trout Zoo in Lufkin had a scare recently, after Mashaka, their 10-year-old lion, was found down and not able to move one side of his body.
Mashaka was brought to Dr. Lindsay Syler at the Angelina Animal hospital.
X-rays were done but the cause of his problem was still unknown so it was determined he needed an MRI.
“We tried an MRI locally but because of OSHA laws all we had were human hospitals,” said Dr. Mike Nance, Zoo Veterinarian.
He was taken to the Gulf Coast Veterinary Specialists Neurology in Houston where they had equipment suitable for a lion.
There it was determined he had what appeared to be a hematoma in his C-5 vertebrate which is near the neck.
Thankfully, he is in good hands back in the zoo and responding well to treatment.
“It’s too early to tell exactly but everyday we’re noticing he’s improving, and he’s actually able to begin to move some of those limbs which is a good sign,” said Dr. Nance. “We don’t know for sure how long this is going to take but he is a trooper, he is really doing well, he takes his medicines well, we’re seeing improvement daily so I think we’re on the right track.”
When Mashaka arrived back home the zoo staff seized the opportunity to do something special for him.
“Yesterday he was immobilized…they cleaned him up with shampoo and he looks fantastic,” said Dr. Nance.
For now zoo keepers are letting him rest and regain his strength.