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Zoo's Vet Team Learns New and Natural Healing Techniques

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!



Posted by Nashville Zoo at 9:02 AM


4/18/2017 at 03:55 PM by Catherine Haggard

That is awesome! Thanks for bringing this special zoo member back to health!

4/18/2017 at 04:43 PM by Laura Daugherty

Outstanding work, aviary staff! Edith is one of my favorite animals at the zoo!

4/18/2017 at 05:44 PM by Nana

Hats off to the broad minded, well educated vets and hard-working zoo staff! Edith is a special beauty! Thank you!!!

4/18/2017 at 06:08 PM by Stephanie D.

I am very happy to hear that Edith is well again and back with her son. I know Emmett's probably super happy to have his mom back. Thanks for the Nashville Zoo staff for taking great care of these animals. Bless you for all the hard work you put in. We went this last Saturday to the Eggstravaganzoo and enjoyed the new updates to the zoo. It looked as though the Cougar area got a new bridge, also. My family took a friend, and everyone had a fun time. We got to see baby Mazi and the new Spider Monkey's for the first time. It was great. Thanks again, Nashville Zoo, for updating our local zoo and looking towards the future.

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