Oakland Zoo

Local Doctors Help Oakland Zoo's Sick Hyena for Free

NBC Universal, Inc.

When the Oakland Zoo, which has been burdened by financial troubles amid the coronavirus pandemic, needed help, local doctors came to the rescue — for free.

Doctors from the SAGE Veterinary Centers in Redwood City assisted the zoo in getting an MRI for Tusker, a spotted hyena who has seemed sick lately, much to the concern of zoo staff.

Tusker was transported to the Redwood City facility where doctors could put him under sedation and give him a thorough examination.

"The zoo reached out looking to get an MRI of Tusker the hyena," veterinary anesthesiologist Dr. Kris Kruse-Elliott said.

But that would cost several thousand dollars — a tough reach for the struggling zoo.

SAGE decided to offer its services for free.

"A, it's hard financial times for them and, B, it's really for a good cause to help these animals as best we can," Kruse-Elliott said. "Anytime that we can help them out, we're really happy to do it."

Tusker was put under and given an MRI to check for brain tumors. Doctors then decided to do a spinal tap. Results are expected within 48 hours, but the initial prognosis is pretty good.

"We always have a huge commitment to taking good care of these animals, but this is really the next level, and it's possible because of their generosity," Dr. Alex Herman with the zoo said.

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