Snow Leopard Check-up

2 September 2014

All went well this morning when Snow Leopard Leon visited the Zoo’s Vet Surgery for a general checkup and for follow-ups of a previous root canal filling and cardiac examination.

Melbourne Zoo’s Head Veterinarian Dr. Michael Lynch coordinated the examination of the 13-year-old Snow Leopard and invited two specialists to collaborate in the checkup.

Specialist veterinary cardiologist Dr. Richard Woolley examined Leon’s heart in 2011, confirming an earlier diagnosis of a mild mitral valve regurgitation resulting in a heart murmur.

Dr. Woolley found then that the condition was so mild that it didn’t require treatment, and his examination today confirmed that there had been no change since 2011.

Specialist veterinary dentist Dr. Steve Coles was also part of the procedure this morning to check up on the state of a root canal filling which he gave Leon in 2009.

In 2011 Dr. Coles checked the filling in Leon’s broken lower right canine and resealed it, but today he found that the filling was in excellent shape and didn’t require any treatment.

He gave Leon’s teeth a polish, commenting that they were in excellent shape due to the natural diet of raw meat and bones that all the big cats at Melbourne Zoo are given.

During the procedure Dr. Lynch asked Carnivore Keeper Sheila Roe to brush Leon’s coat to remove any excess hair that might keep him a bit too warm as the weather improves.

Snow Leopards are an endangered species under great threat in the wild due to human/wildlife conflict and illegal trading in their magnificent skins.

Leon and his mate Meo have bred once, and both of the pair and their daughter Sundar are on display at Melbourne Zoo.