PERTH Zoo Sumatran orang-utan Pulang has undergone a computed tomography (CT) scan at The Animal Hospital at Murdoch University to investigate a nasal issue.
With orang-utans sharing 97 per cent of the same DNA as people, Pulang is the closest to a human that has been through the machine.
Perth Zoo veterinarian Dr Katja Geschke said Pulang had been experiencing a bit of bleeding and discharge from her right nostril.
“Initially we enlisted the expertise of a paediatric ENT specialist who came to Perth Zoo and did a preliminary diagnosis of Pulang before she was taken to the hospital for a more thorough look.
“Using the high-tech diagnostic scanner, we got 360-degree x-rays of Pulang’s head, nose and her overall body.
“We now have a very clear picture of a lump inside her nose which is thought to be a fungal infection, so we’ll be making a treatment plan, otherwise she’s in very good health,” said Dr Geschke.
The CT scanner is only one of three of its kind in Western Australia and is capable of accommodating animals as large as horses and smaller animals.
The Animal Hospital at Murdoch University Dr Jennifer Richardson said Pulang was not their average patient.
“It was extraordinary seeing how similar the anatomy was to a human, although she is much more muscular than most females her age,” she said.
“It was a privilege to assist a critically endangered animal and help the Zoo team get a clearer picture of her nose problem.”
After the procedure, Pulang was moved to a crate and recovered from the anaesthetic under the watchful eyes of the zoo’s veterinary team and her dedicated keepers before being transported back to Perth Zoo.