Video: Zimba the lion is feeling much better, thank you

Zimba is a 7-year-old African lion who lives at The Wild Animal Sanctuary in Keenesburg, Colorado. He came to the CSU James L. Voss Veterinary Teaching Hospital because he wasn’t eating well and seemed to have a pain in his neck.

Dr. Miranda Sadar of the hospital’s Avian, Exotic, and Zoological Medicine service oversaw his case as he underwent a CT scan of his neck and an ultrasound of his abdomen. Dr. Gregg Griffenhagen and the anesthesia team made sure he was comfortable (and asleep) throughout the procedures.

The good news is that CSU veterinarians did not find any serious problems, and veterinary technicians took the opportunity to groom his mane and smooth out his dreadlocks.

Like a housecat, Zimba was acting picky about his food. “He has some differences because he is a big cat, but overall, a lot of the things that ail our small cats will also have the same issues in big cats as well,” Sadar said. “We want to see if we can jump-start his appetite and getting him feeling a little bit better.”

When the sanctuary’s animals need specialized care and diagnostic imaging, chief science and welfare officer Becca Micelli brings them to the hospital for consultation with board-certified experts. Previous big cat patients include Guero, a 15-year-old lion who suffered from a broken neck and damaged teeth, and Arthur, a 11-year-old lion with a 3.8-pound hairball.

Micelli was relieved that Zimba did not require further treatment after the day-long visit to the hospital. “Maybe he’s just having an episode that we really don’t know why, but we can get him over the hump to live a nice, long, happy life.”