Dr. Hunter’s Blog 2/8/19

Dr. Lamar Hunter has just joined the Carolina Tiger Rescue team as a wildlife veterinarian. After he graduated from NC State’s vet school, Dr. Hunter studied under Dr. Angela Lassiter at Carolina Tiger Rescue. He helps with physicals, medical procedures, and loves seeing the animals improve under the care of the awesome vets at the rescue. Dr. Hunter enjoys working with all the animals at Carolina Tiger Rescue, but his favorite is the lions.

Beau got his physical today! Every animal, within the first 30 days of coming to Carolina Tiger Rescue, receives a physical. This physical allows us to get a baseline on their health. We draw blood to do a full work up, check all of their joints and teeth, and ensure they are overall healthy. We have waited a little longer than normal with Beau because we don’t want to lose the trust we have gained with him.

The way we do physicals is to sedate the animal first. We never put our hands on any of our animals unless they are sedated for medical procedures. This is for their safety and for ours. Once Beau was sedated in quarantine, we moved him onto an exam table so we could have complete access to him. We hooked him up to several monitoring machines to ensure he was breathing and had a steady heart rate. Continuing to keep an eye on these vitals is extremely important and it’s the job of one of our keepers and us to monitor him. Every five minutes, we check his vitals by listening to his heart rate with a stethoscope, counting how many breaths he is taking per minute, and taking his temperature. With his temperature, we want to ensure he is not getting too warm or too cold and, if he is, we cool him down or warm him up externally.

While Beau is sedated for his physical, we have the opportunity to look at all his joints, look at his feet, check inside his mouth to ensure he has clean and healthy teeth, and check his ears. During the physical, safety is our number one priority. It is always the job of one of the keepers to stay at his head and monitor for signs of him waking up. If she gets ear twitches or he starts to have tension in his jaw, she lets us know so we can give him a bit more medication to keep him asleep. Once we get his blood work back from the lab and if it says he is healthy, we can end his quarantine and start to look at moving him to an outdoor enclosure. Because Beau was born in the wild, we will be taking this process a little more slowly. We want to ensure that he will shift for us once he is outside so we can clean his enclosure. Having him trust us, even a little, is extremely important for him to have a happy and healthy life here at Carolina Tiger Rescue. Sometimes that trust takes a little longer than others, but what matters is, it’s always on the animals’ terms!