The zoo’s snow leopard cub is one lucky cat. Despite being born with several birth defects affecting his eyes and abnormal development of his rear legs and chest, the cub is receiving the very best care and world-class veterinary treatment to help him overcome these challenges. Shortly after the cub was born, zoo keeper staff, the zoo’s veterinary team, and specialists from the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine immediately went to work crafting a unique and customized treatment plan that includes physical therapy specifically designed to address his medical condition while allowing him to remain with, and bond with his mom.
As the cub has grown, he has developed noticeably splayed back legs, commonly referred to as “swimmers syndrome” in dogs and cats and is currently receiving physical therapy sessions three times a day to correct and improve his ability to walk. These sessions include assisting the cub to walk on surfaces with good traction (such as grass, compacted mulch or high-friction rubber flooring). He is also receiving help during these sessions with the use of a supportive rear-lifting harness. The harness lifts his hips and helps him position his rear legs underneath him.