Fresno Chaffee Zoo veterinarians perform two major surgeries in one day

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- The Fresno Chaffee Zoo is home to over 800 animals and what you may not know is that there is only a handful of people to take care of all those creatures.

Dr. Michael Wenninger is one of two veterinarians for the zoo. They have three other associates on staff.

"All the things that people would do for their pets, like their dogs and their cats, we do to a different scale for our animals here at the zoo," said Wenninger.

Each day they make the rounds to check on every animal. Sometimes they bring the animals to the doctor-type office located behind the zoo.

This past summer, Wenninger and staff noticed a harbor seal named "Jetta" had an issue with her eyes. The problem: bilateral cataracts.

"And it was impairing her vision. So we made the choice to call in a specialist, an ophthalmologist and an anesthesiologist for marine mammals. And we flew them in," said Wenninger.

That team flew in from the southeast of the country last month. Since an anesthesiologist was here, they performed another surgery that same day.

"Kiki" the lion was spayed. The surgery was necessary because "Kiki" was starting to show signs of arthritis in her hips.

"Kiki is a 14-year-old female lion and because of her age, she is not recommended for breeding, and so we have been doing contraceptive implants for her. That's essentially birth control for lions," he said.

"Kiki" has already given birth to a few cubs and she is now doing well, enjoying the sunshine at the zoo's African Safari.

And "Jetta" the harbor seal is swimming again in the waters of Sea Lion Cove.
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