The Associated Press
CLEVELAND - Dr. Chris Bonar quickly locates the marble-sized cancerous growth in his patient's abdomen.
He can remove the growth, but a hysterectomy is needed to ward off future problems. With a few deft slices of the scalpel, he removes the offending tissue along with the ovaries.
The procedure is not taking place in one of Cleveland's medical centers. The patient is an African hedgehog and Dr. Bonar is a veterinarian for the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo. He and his assistants are charged with protecting the health of more than 300 species, from aardvarks to zebras, who live in the 170-acre complex.
The diversity of species and ailments means that Dr. Bonar routinely faces medical challenges for which there are no standard procedures.
"Although some of the medicine is becoming well-defined, every day I am breaking new ground," he said.
Dr. Bonar said his most important job is keeping detailed medical histories of every creature.
Every animal that dies receives a full autopsy. The data is important to Cleveland and other zoos in learning to care for their valuable collections.
There rarely is a dull moment for Dr. Bonar and the veterinary staff.
During an exam, a mountain paca stopped breathing due to the anesthesia, and Dr. Bonar had to perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation on the animal.
Anesthesia is the most dangerous part of most surgeries because the medical staff cannot take preliminary tests before anesthesia that are standard for humans.
"If it is a man-eating carnivore, I can't even take its pulse without anesthetizing it."
Dr. Bonar also said animals suffer from their own bravado.
"They really try hard not to show signs of being sick. That's how you survive in the wild, but it makes my job more difficult," Dr. Bonar said. "Often, by the time an animal is showing signs of illness, it's really in danger."
Taft urges 6¢ increase in fuel tax
Middletown gets its second wind
Schools struggle to meet Bush's reforms
To cope in cold, go north
IN THE TRISTATE
Brent Spence study begins as funding questions arise
Spike Lee backs out of Feb. appearance at UC
Man shot in apparent break-in
Demolition begins to make way for new Midway Elementary
Deerfield Twp. marks 200 years
Study could result in scholarship funds
Obituary: James Parker helped shape labor relations
RADEL: Gambling Addict?
GUTIERREZ: No language war
FAITH MATTERS: Churches link charity, Super Bowl
McNUTT: Need a friend?
BUTLER, WARREN, CLERMONT
Lawmakers: Growth will continue in suburbs
1974 murder suspect pursued
Attack blamed on insanity; new bond asked
State buying development rights
Pair arrested as paintball vandals
Inmate ruled trial-ready in guard's death
Doctor keeps busy at Cleveland's zoo
New Senate president doesn't stray from rural roots
Touchdown puts love on the board
Slain pilot's estate object of legal fight in family
Woman says doctor carved 'UK' during surgery
Candidates for governor shy from raising Ky. taxes
Erlanger-Elsmere district adopts utility tax
Lawyer says teacher wasn't acting immoral
Police investigate whether overdoses caused 2 deaths