Veterinary Appreciation Day

Every day our veterinary staff at the Animal Care Center (ACC) work hard
to provide the animals that call the Phoenix Zoo home the best care possible.
This includes: preventative care, physical exams and treatment.

Throughout his career working in the Animal Care Center, Vice President of Animal Health & Collection Gary West has had many favorite experiences working with the different species that call the Phoenix Zoo home. His most memorable experiences are when working on complex medical cases. Gary said, “Often, there is very little known about medical conditions in the species we work on. So, we must be creative and collaborative. When we collaborate with other specialists on cases to solve a medical problem, it makes the job incredibly rewarding.”

A perfect example of collaborating with other specialists on a complex medical case is Daniel, a 15-year-old Bornean orangutan at the Phoenix Zoo who had chronic sinusitis and a respiratory disease. No one in the United States had done sinus surgery on an orangutan to help alleviate their clinical signs. We collaborated with a radiologist to get a CT scan to specifically identify how the sinuses were affected. After getting a CT scan, we worked with an M.D. who specializes in human sinus surgery to perform endoscopic sinus surgery, which really helped Daniel. A veterinary surgeon also assisted us and performed air sac surgery to help alleviate his respiratory signs.