4 chimpanzees undergo variety of examinations, Zoo Miami says

Zoo: Cardiac exams confirm Hondo suffering from advanced heart disease

By Troy Blevins - Graham Media Group

MIAMI - Four chimpanzees were immobilized this week to undergo a variety of examinations, according to Zoo Miami.

Zoo officials said the examinations included dental exams, echocardiograms, bronchoscopies and uterine exams. The use of anesthesia was supervised. Zoo Miami associate veterinarians oversaw the procedures.

The results of the exams done on Niger, the 28-year-old alpha male, did not indicate abnormalities that raised any major concerns, zoo officials said. Niger has recovered well and was back on exhibit Friday morning.

Zoo officials said the two females -- Bubbles, 53, and Samantha, 50 -- received OB-GYN exams and, fortunately, a growth that was found in the uterus of Samantha was benign.

Both females, however, most likely due to their advanced age, experienced some difficulty recovering from their anesthesia, zoo officials said.

"Of the two, Samantha gave us the biggest scare when she would not wake up for several hours," Zoo Miami said in a release. "However, after a variety of treatments were administered to help her awaken, Samantha opened her eyes in the evening and slowly, but surely began to show movement."

Zoo officials said Samantha was back on her feet Friday afternoon, adding that both she and Bubbles appear to be well on their way to making a full recovery.

The cardiac exams confirmed Hondo is suffering from advanced heart disease that has resulted in a variety of life-threatening issues and has most probably reduced his life expectancy to less than a year, according to Zoo Miami.

Hondo was also found to have a large blood clot that has the potential of breaking off with what most likely would be fatal results, zoo officials said.

"The veterinary team is working closely with the Great Ape Heart Project based in Atlanta to provide the best possible care and treatments for Hondo, who will be on a regimen of medications in an effort to give him the best quality of life possible for the time he has left," Zoo Miami said in the release.

Zoo officials said that, just as in human beings, heart disease is not uncommon in adult male great apes.

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