Mumford’s Day with the Doctors

Como Zoo keeper Caitlin Allessi recently noticed that Mumford the lion seemed to be suffering from an increasing number of nosebleeds. “While he’s always had occasional problems with that, we noticed that they were getting more intense over time, and we wanted to investigate to rule out any big concerns about his health,” she says.

Getting a nearly 400-pound cat to the doctor is not easy, but the process has been made a little more convenient at Como Zoo over the last year thanks to the new on-site veterinary team. Supported in part by your contributions to Como Friends, this new approach to animal care helps to minimize stress for animals by eliminating the need to travel to the vet. It also allows veterinarians and keepers to collaborate more closely, managing multiple procedures to make the most of the time animals may have to be under anesthesia. 

“Knowing that we would be scoping his nose, we realized it would also be a great time to coordinate with the veterinary dentist, which is a big undertaking with a lion,” says large cat keeper Hans Jorgensen. “The veterinary dental team told us that with a house cat, it usually takes 10 x-ray plates to view the cat’s whole mouth, but with Mumford, it took 50!” 

Though Mumford has been a resident of Como Zoo since 2019, this was the first time keepers were able to do a full physical exam of the 8-year-old male, taking blood samples, a urine sample and radiographs can give veterinarians a more thorough understanding of the lion’s overall health. During the brief procedure, veterinarians got to the root of the nosebleed problem—a cluster of vascular tissue near the tip of his right nostril that gets irritated, particularly when he bumps it against the mesh of the exhibit. 

“He has had a few more nosebleeds since this procedure, so for right now, we’ll just keep monitoring him,” says Allessi. “It’s a big deal to anesthetize a lion, so if we don’t have to do it, we don’t want to. But it’s so much more convenient to have veterinarians come to us—it’s been a nice improvement for the animals.”


Mumford’s paw print is a featured auction item at this year’s Sunset Affair: Our Wild World Silent Auction!

Share on social media

Thank you for uploading