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Panda Updates- Monday, April 10

We have been working with our Veterinary Team for a few years to train the pandas to voluntarily participate in an echocardiogram, or an ultrasound of the heart. We’ve had several conversations over what position would produce diagnostic images. When the pandas are anesthetized, the cardiologist places them on their left sides for the best images. When thinking about how they use their bodies, standing on all fours seems like the logical choice for viewing the heart sitting in the most natural position in their chests. We created a training plan around those ideas; however, we were unable to work safely with the pandas in those positions. After much discussion and trial and error, we have landed on expanding on the pandas’ chest presentation behavior. Both Yang Yang and Lun Lun are doing very well with the training so far. We are still working on holding the position longer and are shaving the fur near their hearts, so don’t be alarmed if you see a shaved patch on their chests. All of the training we do with the pandas is completely voluntary on their part and they can choose to not participate at any time. The echocardiogram is another non-invasive tool that we can use to monitor the pandas’ health at any time without needing to anesthetize them. Visit our social networks to see this process in action!

Heather B.
Senior Keeper, Carnivores

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