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National Zoo's Two Cheetah Cubs Appear Healthy and Strong

At 6 weeks old, the Smithsonian's National Zoo's two cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus) cubs received a clean bill of health from Zoo veterinarians June 7. The veterinary team performed a complete physical exam, which includes: listening to the cubs' heart and lungs; checking their mouth, eyes, legs, feet and genital area; taking blood samples; and observing the cubs' mobility. The cubs also received the first of a series of vaccines that protect against feline distemper and some upper respiratory viruses.

Both cubs are gaining weight steadily. The male weighs 1,853 grams and the female weighs 1,805 grams—about four pounds each. The Zoo's Department of Nutrition Sciences developed a balanced diet that includes a beef-based solid food and a formula containing disease-fighting immunities found in a mother cheetah's milk. Keepers report that the cubs are very active and spend much of their time running, jumping and chasing one another in their enclosure. Zoo visitors will have the opportunity to see the cubs later this summer when they make their debut at the Cheetah Conservation Station.

To follow the cubs' development, read Great Cat Communiquea and check for news on the Zoo's Facebook page and Twitter feed.

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Photo credit: Jennifer Zoon, Smithsonian's National Zoo

For b-roll of the cubs' exam, visit the Zoo's Flickr page.

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