What do Lucy the antelope, Otto the sheep, and Boone the steer have in common? They all donated blood to help one very special patient! But these were not typical blood donations.
Edith, the sloth star of our Aviary, recently developed a severe corneal ulcer on her left eye. Zoo Staff weren’t sure about the cause, but it definitely required intensive treatment. Along with antibiotic eye drops, a veterinary ophthalmology specialist suggested treating her with a very unusual medicine.
Serum, the straw-colored liquid left over when blood clots, promotes natural healing due to proteins and growth factors similar to the eye’s own tears. Because no antibody carrying blood cells are present in serum, it is not necessary to do a crossmatch of Edith's blood and the donated blood.
Because Edith was already not feeling well and her son, Emmett, was too small to donate, other animals' blood donations were necessary for this special case. The bigger the animal, the easier the blood donation, so the Vet Team called on some of our larger species to volunteer to give blood to help Edith's eye. Luckily, the Vet Team already had sterile serum left over from a routine exam on one of our antelope, Lucy, and were able to start treatments on Edith's eye immediately while more blood was donated for extensive treatment.
The Aviary Keepers worked hard to get drops in Edith’s affected eye every few hours, even coming in at night to get her treated. When Edith’s eye showed improvement, it was decided to continue the special medication. Thanks to awesome around the clock care by our dedicated Avian Staff, Edith is now back in the Aviary, fully recovered!