Fearless Feline: An Exam for Emery

Everyone’s favorite lion cub, Emery, recently had his seven month checkup by Virginia Zoo vet staff and Dr. Keith Kremer, DVM, DACVIM, a board-certified veterinary internist. Physical exams performed when Emery was three months old revealed developmental abnormalities with his kidneys and liver, as well as enlarged lymph nodes, all of which were still functioning properly. While cancer and other serious diseases were ruled out via testing, the Zoo’s Veterinarian, Dr. Colleen made plans to do routine exams more often to continuously ensure Emery is as healthy as can be.

Emery’s latest exam showed a great deal of improvement. He is a fast-growing lion cub, weighing in at 83 pounds, which means he’ll soon be as big as his parents, Mramba and Zola, in no time! An ultrasound, bloodwork and a few x-rays concluded that, while Emery’s kidneys are still not quite normal, their overall appearance has greatly improved as he has aged. After a thorough scan of his abdomen, it was also concluded that his once swollen lymph nodes also appear normal.

Blood and urine tests were also performed and the results showed that his liver and kidneys are functioning as they should be. “Although Emery’s kidneys still aren’t quite normal in structure, I am very pleased with the improvement noted in the exam,” said Dr. Colleen. “It is likely that Emery had some developmental abnormalities early on in life, but one certainly couldn’t tell just by looking at him. It’s been such a joy to watch him learn and explore. We will continue to monitor him closely as he grows to ensure that he lives a healthy, happy life.

Emery also has beautiful pearly white teeth, perfect for chomping down on food with his mom. Zoo Keepers say his personality is very similar to Zola’s and often call him “his mother’s son”. Emery has been seen playing with Mramba, napping in the shade, climbing to the highest rocks and even chasing the wild geese that make their way into the exhibit. Although he isn’t so little anymore, you can now see our littlest lion on exhibit full-time!