Visitors to the Great Cats exhibit may have noticed that 12-year-old African lion Luke has had an on-again, off-again limp. Over the past year, the Smithsonian's National Zoo's animal care team has been closely monitoring him for mobility issues in his right forelimb. A CT scan revealed a lesion on Luke’s spine. However, staff elected not to perform surgery due to significant complications that could arise related to post-surgical care.
To help improve his mobility, vets prescribed anti-inflammatory and analgesic medications. As part of his treatment, the veterinary team is performing deep-tissue laser therapy, electroacupuncture and dry-needle acupuncture on the affected areas. The Zoo is happy to share that Luke is showing good progress and has resumed walking on all four limbs. While the animal care team does not know for how long the treatment will be effective, they will continue to monitor Luke and keep him comfortable. Visit Luke and the Zoo's African lion pride at the Great Cats exhibit.