Performing Colic Surgery on Zebra: Virginia Tech Equine Vets Earn their Stripes

For Brown, who has performed hundreds of colic surgeries on horses, having a patient with stripes was highly unusual but technically very similar.

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Jennifer Brown, DVM, Dipl. ACVS, clinical assistant professor in emergency care and equine surgery at Virginia Tech’s Marion duPont Scott Equine Medical Center, recently performed colic surgery on a 2-year-old male Grevy’s zebra named Dante at the Smithsonian National Zoological Park onsite veterinary hospital in the District of Columbia.

The zoo’s veterinarians were first alerted to a problem by Dante’s keepers who contacted them on the morning of Sunday, Aug. 26.

"Any time that one of these animals is sick, it is pretty challenging because, as prey animals, they tend to hide pain," said Carlos Sanchez, DVM, associate veterinarian at the National Zoo. "Dante’s keepers said that he seemed really depressed. His coat was darker on one side suggesting that he had been lying down for an extended period of time during the night and he was just not acting like himself."

A dart was used to anesthetize the zebra and a diagnostic examination for colic was performed

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