Gold shots for the Asian lion
Veterinarians have treated an elderly lion in Rome's zoo for arthritis by inserting some 50 gold pellets into the animal's muscles, the zoo's chief veterinarian said today.Updated: Dec 07, 2005 21:04 IST
Veterinarians have treated an elderly lion in Rome's zoo for arthritis by inserting some 50 gold pellets into the animal's muscles, the zoo's chief veterinarian said today.
The Asian lion, named Bellamy, had difficulty walking until the procedure two weeks ago in which 24-karat gold pellets each measuring 1 millimeter (0.04 inches) in diameter were inserted, Klaus Gunther Friedrich said.
"We implantd gold into his spinal muscles and near the joints," he said, adding that gold helps to relieve muscle contraction around painful areas.
"The lion is getting old, if we hadn't intervened the situation would have got worse," crippling the lion's mobility, Friedrich told The Associated Press in a telephone interview.
Bellamy is nearly 13 -old for lions in the wild whose life expectancy is around 16 years, Rome's Bioparco zoo said. In captivity, life expectancy isfrequently longer it said.
The lion arrived from England in 2001 and has been living at the zoo since then.
After the 3 1-2 hour operation, Bellamy was taken to a new enclosure from which he later emerged looking a little weak and shaky, but managing to walk. Small dots along his back indicate where the injections were made.
"I think he lost his pain now. Obviously, I can't ask him but I can observe him and it looks like the pain is absolutely reduced. It's a great result," Friedrich said.
He said the technique has been used on dogs, cats and a tiger. Bellamy was believed to be the first lion to undergo the treatment, Friedrich said.
First Published: Dec 07, 2005 21:01 IST