CT-scan for lion Simba

Medical examinations for the seven romanian lions

A few weeks after their rescue, the Romanian lions were examined by a team of wildlife veterinarians


From Wednesday 10 November until Friday 12 November 2021 the wildlife veterinarians from Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research (Dr. Frank Göritz, Marc Gölkel, Mandana Pötsch) and University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna (Julia Bohner, Hanna Rauch) came to FELIDA Big Cat Sanctuary to examine the seven lions rescued from private keeping in Romania in September 2021.

A CT-scan for lion Simba

On Wednesday morning, lion Simba was the first patient. Since Simba suffers from malformations, we went with him ot the animal clinic AniCura de Tweede Lijn in Wilhelminaoord – about 15 minutes away from FELIDA – where it was possible for us to do a CT-scan. We thank the team from AniCura for their warm welcome and great support!

The crate training that was needed to bring Simba to the clinic went very smooth: Simba trusted us completely and walked bravely into his crate. Also the examination went well. We are now awaiting the results of the general blood samples and tests, as well as the CT scan. These will be analysed by all medical specialists and then help us to determine the best treatment plan for Simba, in order to live a life without stress and pain.

Back at FELIDA, Simba woke up very well from the anesthesia in his heated indoor enclosure and the next day, he was already playing again in his outdoor enclosure.

A laparoscopic surgery for lioness Elza

In the afternoon, lioness Elza was the second patient. The veterinarians performed general checks on her, such as checking the kidneys, taking blood samples and performing a general body check. The biggest task for the team was to remove her uterus via a laparoscopic surgery. Since Elza is constantly in heat but will not produce any offspring, this will cause her medical problems in the future. The uterus was already affected, but luckily successfully removed.

Afterwards Elza could wake up in a warm bed of straw in her heated indoor enclosure. The next day she was already back in her outdoor enclosure where she was relaxing in her hammock. 

A vet check for lions Dolf, Vincent and Roman

On the second day it was the turn of our three young male lions: Dolf, Vincent and Roman. The shy lion Dolf was the first one to be brought to the medical room. He seems to suffer from a stomach ulcer for which we will determine the right medication, and also he received a dental treatment because one molar was broken. After the health check he woke up pretty quick from the anesthesia in his warm indoor enclosure.

Vincent was next and was quite a challenge for the team to carry to the medical room as he is pretty heavy (too heavy). And the same goes for brother Roman who was the last patient of the day. The general health check of both boys went smooth. Of course it was confirmed that for both lions, we need to get him into a better body condition which is already a work in progress by a strict diet with proper nutrition and more exercise (space to run, enrichment to challenge them etc.). Although we have to await the results of the blood samples and other tests, our impression is that they are healthy fellows with a bright future.

The next day the three young males were already reunited in their outdoor enclosure.

Last but not least: lionesses Ellie and Geena

Last but not least! On Friday, our wildlife veterinarians examined the young females Ellie and Geena. Although we have to await the results of all tests, both ladies seem to be in a very good condition. 

The biggest task for the team was to remove the uterus via a laparoscopic surgery in order to avoid offspring in the future, because soon we want to socialise them again with their brothers Vincent, Roman and Dolf. Both surgeries went very well and the next day, Ellie and Geena were already back in their outdoor enclosure!

An intensive week

It was an intensive week: examining and treating seven lions in three days time! We would like to thank our wildlife veterinarians from Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research and Vetmeduni Vienna for their excellent work, as well as once more animal clinic AniCura de Tweede Lijn for receiving us and lion Simba.

We will now wait for the results of all the tests to determine the right treatment plans for the seven lions, in order for them to live a happy life.

An unexpected extra patient

On Thursday evening, after a long day in which the veterinarians treated Dolf, Vincent and Roman, there was an unexpected extra patient. When the vets were on their way to the hotel, they came across dog Donna along with her owners. Donna had just been hit by a car and was seriously injured. She needed urgent treatment, and what a lucky coincidence that our vets were there!

They were able to stop severe bleedings and to insert an IV. Without these efforts, it probably would not have ended well for Donna. After providing first aid, the poor dog was taken to the veterinary clinic in Utrecht where she was treated for a collapsed lung and a large wound, and got a surgery on a shattered hind leg. 

Despite the fact that Donna still has a long way to go in order to fully recover, she is doing well under the circumstances. We wish Donna and her owners all the best!

Dog Donna after her surgeries
Wildlife vet Marc Gölkel during a vet check of lioness Elza

learn more about special care 

Proper treatments for traumatised big cats


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