Zookeepers at NC Zoo train large mammals to participate in their own healthcare

Data pix.

ASHEBORO, N.C. -- Veterinarians at the North Carolina Zoo try to avoid using anesthesia on animals as much as possible.

So over the last few years, zookeepers have trained many of the large mammals to participate in their own healthcare, including the 300-pound Silverback gorilla Mosuba.

Working behind protective barriers, zookeepers have trained Mosuba to show his hands and feet for checkups. He also opens his mouth on demand for vets to check his teeth.

Recently, zookeepers began training with an ultrasound wand so vets can take a closer look at Mosuba's heart. The ultrasound allows them to make sure there are no problems, including heart disease or blocked arteries.

That information will be used to care for Mosuba, and then also sent to the Great Ape Heart Project in Atlanta. That organization gathers data from all over the United States to better care for gorillas all over the world.

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