Kangaroo Undergoes Tests at UC Davis

Veterinarians Rule Out Mass in Zoo Animal’s Chest

Brodie, an approximately 10-year-old a female kangaroo from the Sacramento Zoo, was a patient at the University of California, Davis, veterinary hospital this week for further evaluation of a suspected mass near her heart.

Kangaroo face
Brodie, approximately 10 years old.

The zoo’s veterinary team had discovered several abnormalities on X-rays of Brodie’s chest during her recent annual check-up at the zoo. Each of the nearly 500 animals at the zoo receives an annual health evaluation, keeping the veterinary team busy year-round.

“Before her exam, Brodie appeared to be in good health,” said Melissa McCartney, senior manager of animal care at the Sacramento Zoo. “Discovering this abnormality is a good example of why we do the yearly exams — we would not have known about this otherwise, since she presents no symptoms.”

Jenessa Gjeltema, chief of the Zoological Medicine Service at the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine and head veterinarian at the Sacramento Zoo, said preventive health exams provide the opportunity to detect potential health problems early in their course. “This allows us to provide better care and can give us more options for managing health concerns,” she said.

Advanced imaging

Kangaroo at imaging machine
Brodie at the UC Davis veterinary hospital for advanced imaging. (Rob Warren/UC Davis)

At the hospital, a team of specialists in oncology, cardiology, diagnostic imaging and anesthesia administered additional tests, including an echocardiogram (ultrasound of the heart) and a CT scan. The advanced imaging techniques determined that there was no mass in Brodie’s chest. They confirmed, however, some minor abnormalities in her lungs, a small nodule in her heart and an abnormal esophagus.

“This is great news for Brodie,” Gjeltema said. “We were very relieved that what appeared to be a potential mass in her chest on the initial radiographs was due to these less concerning abnormalities. We’ll continue to monitor her closely and further evaluate these abnormalities in follow-up examinations.”

New Australia Exhibit

Brodie, donated to the zoo by a private owner, is one of the main attractions of the zoo’s new Australia Exhibit. She shares her yard with two male (neutered) kangaroos Flux and Jordan, both 5 years old.

“The boy kangaroos love Brodie, and she is very kind to them,” McCartney said. “The three ’roos get along quite well.”

Also sharing their habitat are emus Schmee and Shirley. All of the animals have settled nicely into their new exhibit and enjoy the sunny space. Most often, the kangaroos can be seen lying on the tops of the hills in the sun taking naps, McCartney said.

UC Davis has provided veterinary care for the zoo’s animals for many decades. The community partnership provides a rich and robust learning experience for veterinary students as well as veterinary residents seeking to become zoological medicine specialists.

Media Resources

Rob Warren is the communications and marketing officer in the School of Veterinary Medicine. Email: rjwarren@ucdavis.edu.

Media kit with photos and B-roll

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