Cougar Mountain Zoo Receives Big Help from Local Animal Hospital

Cougar Mountain Zoo spays and neuters too!

Issaquah, Washington July 5, 2013 - Cougar Mountain Zoo’s female cougar, Tika, was spayed last month using the most cutting edge equipment, thanks to Seattle Veterinary Specialists.

Tika is one of three cougars at the zoo and is just over 2 years old. “We wanted to wait until she went through her first season before we spayed her,” said General Curator, Robyn Barfoot. “Since she lives with her sister and brother, we will not be breeding our cougars”.

Since the zoo does not have a fully equipped veterinary hospital on grounds due to lack of funding, Barfoot reached out to a local veterinary hospital, Seattle Veterinary Specialists (SVS). SVS has done work for the zoo before. Board certified surgeon, Dr. Michael Mison, generously offered to help with the spaying procedure. Dr. Mison also neutered the zoo’s male cougar, Miksa, and is familiar with Tika. Tika came to Dr. Mison when she was only 3 months old and was diagnosed with a genetic heart complication. She would not have survived in the wild with the complication, but because of Dr. Mison, SVS and their staff, Tika is a very healthy cougar expected to live a long life.

Dr. Mison suggested doing the procedure laparoscopically. “It is more beneficial to do a laparoscopic spay because it will be minimally invasive and decrease the incision size greatly”.

The SVS team, lead by Dr. Mison and assisted by Dr. Stephen Stockdale, brought the very best equipment to the zoo for the procedure. Along with Dr. Mison and Dr. Stockdale, the zoo’s consulting veterinarian Dr. Allison Case and volunteer vet tech Taryn Smethers and curator Barfoot all participated in the procedure.

Today, Tika is fully recovered and can be seen running around her habitat with her siblings. Thank you to the amazing talent and generosity of the veterinarians and SVS!