Chicago zoo’s biggest cat gets annual checkup

By Frank Mathie
May 8, 2007 – Lincoln Park Zoo’s female Siberian Tiger gets its annual checkup.

Molly the Tiger went to see the doctor and ABC7’s Frank Mathie was there to hold her paw.
Molly didn’t have to wait in the doctor’s room. As soon as the anesthesia set in, she was on the table and the Zoo’s veterinarian staff went to work while the big cat slept. But they still had themselves a tiger by the tail.

Dr. Robyn Barbiers, the zoo’s Vice President of Collections, said they give annual physical exams to most of its animals.

“As they age, it is very important so you can catch dental disease or cardiac disease and treat it before it becomes a real problem,” said Barbiers.

As far as the Lincoln Park Zoo doctors know, Molly is in perfect health. The test is precautionary, but as long as the 9-year-old beauty is out cold they check out everything to make sure she continues to feel g-r-r-eat.

“We start by looking in the eyes and the ears,” said Dr. Kathryn Gamble, who is the Director of Veterinarian Services. “We actually look in their nose because sometimes cats can have tumors in their nasal passages that will affect their ability to eat and be healthy.”

The Siberian Tiger is the biggest cat in the world and there’s a good reason for the giant paws.

“They (the paws) have to be big because they have to carry 300 pounds,” Gamble said. “They also tend to spread out a little bit and let them walk like snowshoes in their native environment.”

There was also an X-ray session and in-depth look with ultrasound. The doctors also want to make sure Molly will be able to have cubs in the next year or so.

Everything, as it turned out, looked perfect for Molly and the future section=local&id=5285523

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