The Columbus Zoo has a big new CAT-scanner. They also have a big cat – a 14-year-old male lion named Tomo – who 'volunteered' to get the zoo's state-of- -the-art imaging device off to a roaring good start.

Columbus Zoo Gives Big Cat A CAT-Scan

Even the king of the beasts can feel down in the mouth sometimes... and just try finding a dentist willing to go there and treat it. Luckily for Tomo, a lion with a gum infection, the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium has a nifty new diagnostic tool designed to delve into the root of Tomo's pain quickly, easily and safely for all concerned.  

Only six zoos in the United States can boast of having CAT (computerized axial tomography) technology on site. The unit at the Columbus Zoo is a refurbished GE LightSpeed 16-slice CAT scanner, purchased in 2017 with funds donated by a generous individual.

Columbus Zoo Gives Big Cat A CAT-Scan

“The ability to add CAT technology to our diagnostic services keeps us on the cutting edge of zoo medicine, gives us critical diagnostic capabilities for our zoo patients, and enables us to provide state-of-the-art training for our residents,” explained Dr. Randy Junge, Vice President of Animal Health at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium.

Previously, animal patients requiring CAT scans would have to be transported to either The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine or MedVet Medical & Cancer Centers for Pets in Worthington. Now that CAT-scanning technology is available on site, treatment (especially for large animals such as big cats and great apes) is safer, less expensive, and can be delivered in a more timely manner.

Columbus Zoo Gives Big Cat A CAT-Scan

As for Tomo, his CAT scan went swimmingly! The purpose of the scan was to determine the extent of a chronic gum infection. As you can imagine, this type of invasive examination would not be impossible using more traditional methods. Through the use of the new CAT-scanner, zoo veterinary staff discovered that Tomo's gum infection was localized and should completely clear up after a two month course of oral antifungal medication.

“With the addition of CAT imaging and space expansions for improved workflow efficiency,” stated Columbus Zoo and Aquarium President/CEO Tom Stalf, “the Columbus Zoo is proud to continue being considered among the best-equipped zoo hospitals in the country for diagnostic technology and animal health care.” Ain't it the tooth! (via


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