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.

Dr. Hunter’s Blog 7/25/19

Summer camp here at the sanctuary is coming to a close. I must say one of my favorite parts of camp was the field trip we took to NC State with the high school campers! We checked out Dr. Adam Hartstone-Rose’s lab and the vet school, my old stomping ground!

Dr. Hartstone-Rose studies functional morphology and comparative anatomy, which means he studies the link between an animal’s body and how that body and its different parts are used, and he compares this between species. Dr. Hartstone-Rose focuses on the relationships between animals’ diets and their jaws, teeth, and related muscles. He has many, many skulls that he measures and studies. His students showed us around his lab where we got to see their different specimens and learn about the results of their experiments. One big topic we discussed was the difference between captive and wild animals’ teeth. Many captive animals are not fed a whole carcass diet of raw meat and bone like they would have in the wild. Rather, they are often fed ground meat with added vitamins and nutrients. Their teeth are often in worse shape because of it. The whole carcass diet gives animals the calcium and nutrients that they need, it keeps their teeth clean and healthy, and it strengthens their muscles and jaws. The visit to Dr. Hartstone-Rose’s lab made me even happier that our animals are fed the proper whole carcass diet!

One of our many wonderful Animal Care volunteers is a student at the NC State College of Veterinary Medicine. She helped us as a counselor for summer camp and kindly gave us a personal tour of the school. We were lucky to see the anatomy lab, have lunch in the cafeteria, and check out the Skills Lab, where vet students actually perform surgery on animals in the second and third years of vet school. In the Skills Lab, I decided to show the campers veterinary care in action by giving Dr. Chloe Wilde an ultrasound. This is a method of imaging that uses sound waves to produce pictures of the inside of the body. It was fun to show the high schoolers how all of the equipment works. It was amazing how quickly the Surgery Teaching Technicians were able to set up all of the necessary components. I’d definitely want them there if I needed to perform surgery or if I needed a procedure done myself!

Lastly, we visited the NC State Turtle Rescue Team. That’s right, there is a turtle rescue at the vet school! Turtles often are hit by cars as they try to cross the road and many of the Turtle Rescue’s patients come from drivers who found them in that situation. Anyone who finds an injured turtle in the surrounding towns can call the Rescue Team and bring them in to be rehabilitated. There, they will be given the necessary medical care. Turtles can heal the cracks in their shells and the Rescue Team can help them along by attaching small hooks to the turtles shell on each side of the crack, then wrapping wire through the hooks to pull those pieces close together. Watermelon the box turtle had this done, as you can see in this photo; just follow the arrow. If the turtles are able to recover, they can be released back into the area where they were found injured. I wish Watermelon a speedy recovery!

There are countless interesting things to be seen at NC State’s College of Veterinary Medicine. I really enjoyed my time there as both a student and a tour guest! If you ever get a chance to visit, check it out!