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12 December 2013

Gorilla Yakini received his biennial health check yesterday at Werribee Open Range Zoo.

While vets have yet to receive all of the test results, the check up went smoothly and they were very pleased to see that Yakini shows no signs of ill health.

The check up was conducted by a team of medical professionals, including Werribee Open Range Zoo’s veterinary team, anaesthetist Dr Kevin Moriarty OAM, cardiologists and respiratory specialists from the Royal Melbourne Hospital and veterinary dentist, Dr David Clarke.

The two hour check up included a thorough physical examination, a dental examination and a check up on his heart and lungs using thoracic and sinus x-rays and cardiac ultrasound.

These biennial check-ups are very important in the preventative health care of the three Western Lowland Gorillas at Werribee Open Range Zoo.

Along with daily health checks and monitoring of behavior, these routine check-ups assist the veterinary team in identifying and treating potential health issues early.

During the examination, conducted at Werribee Open Range Zoo’s veterinary hospital, the 173kg kilogram gorilla also received a nail trim and had an extra tooth removed to prevent it from crowding his other teeth and becoming infected.

Dentist Dr David Clarke said that Yakini’s teeth were in very good condition but like many of us, he could benefit from taking a little longer to chew his food.

Keepers have been working with Yakini over many years to desensitise him to medical equipment and this was really important in making the check up and particularly the injection of anesthetic as easy and routine for him as possible.

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