A while back, Jamie developed an abscess on her swelling that would not resolve. Thanks to our positive reinforcement training program, Jamie was letting Diana flush the wound twice a day with an antibiotic solution, but unfortunately it still wasn’t healing. So today, with the help of our wonderful vet, Dr. Erin Zamzow, and the long-distance support of board member Dr. Mensching, we decided to anesthetize Jamie to get a better look.
To say that Jamie was cooperative would be an understatement – it’s more like she’s a part of the veterinary team. We always have to isolate chimpanzees prior to anesthesia so that we can make sure they have an empty stomach and most chimpanzees quickly figure out what’s in store for them. As you can imagine, that can be quite stressful and scary. But Jamie spent the entire morning playing with her caregivers, seemingly without a care in the world. When the time came to induce anesthesia, she willingly presented her arm to Diana for injection.
Along with Dr. Zamzow, we were so grateful to have help today from Dr. Fuller of Ellensburg Animal Hospital, who brought a digital x-ray machine so that we could determine the extent of the wound and ensure there wasn’t a foreign body inside.
All in all it was good news: the injury wasn’t as extensive as we feared, and the x-rays all looked good. Dr. Zamzow was able to sterilize the wound and Diana will continue with the cooperative treatments until Jamie is fully healed. Right now, Jamie is enjoying some quiet time by herself in a room filled with blankets, with waiters on hand to give her sips of Gatorade whenever she desires.
When we are done with procedures, we position the chimps in a way that protects their airway as they recover, and to facilitate this we lay them on a couple of scarves with the ends passed through the caging so that we can gently roll them back into position if they slump over the wrong way. As soon as Jamie was up and about, she put a scarf right back to use as a fashion accessory. You can tell she’s feeling better already.