New elephant clinic coming to Albuquerque BioPark
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Something new is coming to the Albuquerque Zoo. It’s not an exhibit or an animal, it’s a new clinic specifically for their elephants.
“This is an EEHV lab, that’s Elephant Endotheliotropic Herpesvirus, and we can test for that and other illnesses here,” said BioPark Senior Veterinarian Dr. Carol Bradford.
This specialty lab will be used to test their elephants for EEHV a disease that has killed multiple BioPark elephants in the past.
“We did lose two calves two years ago, and that was right around the holidays. So that was very difficult in terms of the treatment. And certainly, we did lose them. It was very hard on the staff at that time,” Bradford said.
In the past, the BioPark would have to ship any blood and mucus samples from their elephants to Washington D.C. to be tested – a process that would take days, when time is of the essence.
“When we have a clinical case in an elephant, we want to test the viremia. So that’s the level of virus in the bloodstream, daily, or even twice daily on that elephant to be able to tailor the treatment based on the level of viremia in the bloodstream, and to be able to get those results very quickly,” said Bradford.
Right now, there are less than 10 labs in the country that can test for EEHV, so the BioPark’s new lab could also help our neighboring zoos like El Paso or Phoenix.
“It’s pretty special, that we’re going to be able to have this lab on site and definitely for the BioPar, it’s going to offer that rapid testing. And we could potentially offer it to other zoos in the Southwest if they need some rapid turnaround time on testing,” said Bradford.
The zoo is hoping the lab will be up and running in the next few months and all elephants at the BioPark are healthy.