Kyle in his exhibit after surgery. Photo by Dennis Dow/Woodland Park Zoo.
If you have been out to the African Savanna exhibit recently, you may have noticed a change—one of our patas monkeys now has only one arm. We thought you might have some questions about what happened to him, so we’d like to share with you his story.
Kyle, a 6-year-old, male patas monkey, was recently being treated for a severe infection in the bones around his right shoulder. After the usual antibiotic treatments failed to stop the spread of the infection—jeopardizing his overall health—our keeper staff, animal health team and consulting veterinarians from the Animal Surgical Clinic determined the best course of action would be to amputate Kyle’s right limb.
Kyle (left) with partner Alexa. Photo by Anne Nichols/Woodland Park Zoo.
Why amputation? Not only would it rid Kyle’s body of the infection quickly, but it would also prevent the return of the life-threatening blood infection, and remove the pain that goes along with infection.
Zoo vets teamed up with the Animal Surgical Clinic of Seattle for Kyle’s surgery, and the surgery and recovery from anesthesia went well. Positive change was noted in his attitude and behavior shortly following the surgery. While Kyle was recovering at the zoo’s Animal Health Complex, keepers were busy modifying his holding and exhibit in the African Savanna in order to allow him easier access to his usual resting places.
Kyle can be seen in the African Savanna. Photo by Dennis Dow/Woodland Park Zoo.
After rest and healing, Kyle is now back with his mate, Alexa, and they are staying very close to each other. Kyle was reintroduced to his exhibit and has been seen walking, climbing and running. Since patas monkeys are less arboreal than some of their cousins, Kyle has had to make very few adjustments and is growing more confident every day. And the best news of all, recent blood test results confirm that the procedure did indeed stop the spread of the infection.
We consider this case a real success and a prime example of the excellent animal care we provide for the 1,000+ animals that call Woodland Park Zoo home. Even though it’s still early, we’re confident that Kyle will have a full life.