Cougar Mountain Zoo cougar spayed by Seattle vet
July 9, 2013
Cougar Mountain Zoo’s female cougar Tika was spayed last month using the most cutting edge equipment, thanks to Seattle Veterinary Specialists.
Tika is one of three cougars at the zoo and is just over 2 years old.
“We wanted to wait until she went through her first season before we spayed her,” General Curator Robyn Barfoot said. “Since she lives with her sister and brother, we will not be breeding our cougars.”
Since the zoo does not have a fully equipped veterinary hospital on grounds due to lack of funding, Barfoot reached out to Seattle Veterinary Specialists.
SVS has done work for the zoo before. Board certified surgeon Dr. Michael Mison generously offered to help with the spaying procedure. Mison also neutered the zoo’s male cougar Miksa, and is familiar with Tika.
The zoo is working with SVS to spay Keira, the third cougar, within the next month or two. No date has yet been set as they are waiting for her to go through her first estrous cycle.
Tika came to Mison when she was 3 months old, and was diagnosed with a genetic heart complication. She would not have survived in the wild with the complication, but because of Mison, SVS and staff, Tika is a healthy cougar expected to live a long life.
Mison suggested spaying Tika laparoscopically.
“It is more beneficial to do a laparoscopic spay because it will be minimally invasive and decrease the incision size greatly,” he said.
The SVS team, lead by Mison and assisted by Dr. Stephen Stockdale, brought equipment to the zoo for the procedure. Along with Mison and Stockdale, the zoo’s consulting veterinarian Dr. Allison Case and volunteer vet tech Taryn Smethers and Barfoot participated in the procedure.