Potter Park Zoo’s geriatric Lion taken to MSU for MRI

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LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – Potter Park Zoo’s aging African lion Saida received an MRI at MSU Veterinary Medicine on Thursday. Staff at the Zoo noticed the cat seemed stiff and reluctant to move.

During Saida’s last examination, caretakers noticed arthritis in several of her joints.

“Saida was noted to have muscle loss in her hind legs and appeared to have weakness when walking and occasionally stumbled,” said Dr. Ronan Eustace, Potter Park Zoo’s director of animal health and adjunct professor at the College.

Eustace started Saida on medications to address her pain and Saida was placed under strict rest.  

“Taking a lion away from the zoo is not without some challenges and significant planning and coordination was done to minimize the risk to Saida and to maximize the safety of zoo staff and the staff at MSU Veterinary Medical Center. As an adjunct MSU CVM faculty, I work frequently with the staff at the Hospital to collaborate on complicated zoo cases to provide world-class veterinary care to animals at the zoo,” said Dr. Eustace. 

According to the zoo, Saida had a slipped disc in her lower back causing compression of her spinal nerves.

“All possible treatment options are being explored, but her prognosis for recovery is guarded,” the Zoo said.

The Zoo was assisted by Dr. Kathryn Winger, a veterinary neurologist and Dr. Chris Thibault, an anesthesiologist and the radiology staff at MSU.

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