Story and photo courtesy of http://www.zootoo.com
By Jay Speiden
Peanut was doing what baby ring-tailed lemurs love to do most – enjoying a nice morning climb in her favorite tree at the Summer Winds Farm Sanctuary in Southfield, Michigan. Maybe she got a little too confident, maybe the sun and wind conspired against her or maybe, at just 10 months old, she got a little overconfident for her novice climbing skills and little body to back up.
Whatever the reason, suddenly everything went wrong. Peanut fell, snagging her leg in a branch and fracturing her femur. The leg was broken badly enough that Peanut would need surgery to avoid being saddled with a bum leg for the rest of her life. And without full use of her leg, this member of an endangered species – one that spends most of its life using its hands and feet to move nimbly through the trees – would be severely affected.
Keepers at the Sanctuary knew they had to do everything in their power to make sure Peanut got the care she needed to be able to live a healthy and normal life.
That’s where the Michigan Veterinary Specialists came to the rescue. A group of vets that regularly provide pro-bono services to the Detroit Zoo and other local rehabilitation centers and sanctuaries, the Michigan Veterinary Specialists agreed to perform a special operation on Peanut’s leg that would allow her to heal and, hopefully, one day climb her favorite tree again.
Luckily for Peanut, the facility is only a couple of hours from where she broke her femur and within a day, one of the clinic’s specialists, Dr. Jennifer Covey, had agreed to perform surgery on Peanut’s leg. With a limited window on when the surgery could produce the best result and the clock ticking, Peanut was rushed to the operating room and prepped for surgery.
As Peanut was wheeled into surgery on the operating table, she slowly drifted off as the anesthesia took hold. With the bright lights growing fuzzy and fading, she might have been dreaming of her home at the Summer Wind Farm Sanctuary. It’s a place that abandoned exotic animals and veteran performers for zoos and circuses can only hope to end up one day. The 140-acre sanctuary is home to over 200 exotic animals including bears, tigers and monkeys. And it’s a place where animals like Peanut can live out their lives in a clean, caring environment where they are well cared for and safe from mistreatment and any form of abuse.
When Peanut woke an hour and a half later, her leg was repaired and she was ready to return home to the sanctuary where she will spend the next 8 to 12 weeks recovering. She is expected to make a full recovery.
“It’s not every day that we get to treat a rare, endangered animal like a baby ring-tailed lemur,” said Kristi Valentini of the Michigan Veterinary Specialists. “We’re so happy everything went according to plan and that Peanut is expected to make a full recovery.”
Dr. Jennifer Covey, who performed the actual surgery, said, “I was excited to be personally involved in helping an endangered species. That doesn’t happen every day – and I’m pleased with how the surgery went.”
“We sent Peanut home as soon as possible because we thought she’d be more comfortable in her home surroundings rather than in our clinic,” said Kristi Valentini.
And that’s where Peanut is today, recovering nicely, perhaps staring at her favorite climbing tree, looking forward to the day when she can climb again. And thanks to the doctors at the Michigan Veterinary Specialists, her leg should be ready to climb just fine when she is up for giving that tree another shot.
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