During the past several weeks, Bei Bei has been experiencing some gastrointestinal discomfort which has caused him to pass several mucous stools and loose stools. Mucous stools are the consistency of mucous rather than a fully formed stool and they are not uncommon in giant pandas—though Bei Bei seems to have mucous stools more often than Mei Xiang or Tian Tian and they tend to occur seasonally when he is transitioning to eating different parts of bamboo.
Usually after Bei Bei passes a mucous stool, he rebounds immediately and returns to his usual routine of eating, sleeping and playing. When keepers noticed that Bei Bei was experiencing this most recent bout with mucous stools, veterinarians began treating him with an antibiotic to help him pass fully formed stools. His fecal consistency did improve, but he still was not quite himself. He has been slow to get up in the morning, which is when the pandas are usually most eager to go outside and eat their breakfast, and he has spent more time sleeping inside during the day than is normal for him, though during the heat of the summer the pandas spend much of their time napping in the air conditioning.
Overall his appetite has been low, but he has begun eating more. Arrow bamboo seems to pique Bei Bei’s appetite more than any other species of bamboo, so keepers have been offering him plenty of it.
In the meantime, veterinarians have tested Bei Bei’s fecal samples, which confirmed that he has some inflammation of his gastro-intestinal tract likely caused by bacteria. They gave him anti-nausea medicine along with the antibiotic to help and by yesterday afternoon he had improved. In an abundance of caution, the vets will also collected a blood sample from Bei Bei to make sure there are no other underlying issues.
The panda cams will continue to rotate between showing Mei Xiang, Tian Tian and Bei Bei as usual depending on their activity levels. You may have noticed we’ve been having some technical issues with the Panda Cams lately as we upgrade and perform routine maintenance. Thanks for your patience as we continue to update and make improvements!