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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – How do you give a flamingo a medical exam? Very carefully! That is exactly what zookeepers at Zoo Miami did Wednesday as the zoo’s flock of flock of twenty-five Caribbean flamingos were rounded so they could each receive their annual physicals.
Zoo staff used a long net stretched out between animal science team members to carefully corral the flock into a small area where they could be individually separated for their exams.
There are 14 male and 11 female flamingos in the flock.
The Animal Health team set up a mobile clinic in the holding area adjacent to the exhibit and one by one, each flamingo was brought in to be checked by Zoo Miami Associate veterinarians Dr. Jimmy Johnson and Dr. Gaby Flacke.
Veterinarians weighed each flamingo, collected a blood sample and checked the overall body condition with special attention to the feet, which can be susceptible to certain issues. In addition, each flamingo was vaccinated against West Nile virus.
All of the flamingos except for one 31-year-old male passed their physicals and were successfully returned to the exhibit immediately following the procedure.
The one male that was transported to the Animal Hospital was exhibiting some respiratory issues that the veterinarians felt required further observation. The affected bird is presently resting comfortably in the clinic while the veterinarians further evaluate his condition.
These exams are part of an important preventative medicine program designed to identify any potential health issues with the animals that live at the zoo.
Because they are wild animals, they oftentimes will disguise any symptoms of disease or illness until the progression is too far advanced.
By being able to identify any potential issues during early stages through preventative exams, lives can, and have been saved.