Lions at Chennai’s Vandalur zoo free of Covid-19 | Chennai News – Times of India


CHENNAI: The lion safari area at the Arignar Anna Zoological Park at Vandalur, which houses the seven Covid-19 infected big cats, now reverberates with the roars as they have recovered from the infection. Nearly a month and half ago, the constant coughing of the sick felines had sent alarm bells ringing among the staff.
Now, zoo director Debasis Jana told TOI, there was relief as all the seven lions had tested negative and were healthy. Their diet also had been reverted to beef and liver every day, he said.
On the treatment, Jana said it was a challenging task as lions cannot be handled like humans. “There are limitations in the treatment of wildlife in captivity,” he said.
A team of veterinarians along with animal keepers constantly monitored them, checking their respiratory rate and body temperature periodically using a thermal image camera from a distance. They were given the same medicines administered to humans infected by the virus antibiotics, anti-inflammatory drugs and steroids. They were also subjected to nebulisation treatment which was a challenge as the animals kept moving up and down in the enclosure. It was only when each lion lay down that the vets thrust a nebulizer affixed to a stick through the bars and kept it close to the nose. This laborious process lasted nearly four hours for each animal, but the monitoring team managed it, he said.
During the treatment, the vets noticed kidney problems in two lions and used enteric dialysis to cure them. Two of the seven lions were very old and had to be administered a fluid diet for about 10 days to help them recover.
Earlier, soon after the lions tested positive for Covid-19, the zoo managers changed their diet. “Normally, we provide each lion with seven kg of beef and one and half kg of liver. This was changed to chicken, chicken soup, mutton soup every day for nearly 45 days,” he said.
Since the third week of July, the animals have been getting their normal diet and are being let out into the open during the day, Jana added.

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