163-pound Sumatran tiger pays visit to doctor at Oklahoma City Zoo

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OKLAHOMA CITY - Just like humans, animals have checkups at the doctors too.

Last week, our crews went to the Oklahoma City Zoo and watched Hubert the lion get his wellness exam.

This week, it’s all about Lola the tiger.

Veterinarians said these routine exams are crucial to make sure these endangered animals are in good health.

"We certainly have to be very careful. Tigers are extremely dangerous animals," said Jennifer D'Agostino, the director of veterinary services.

Lola is a 163 pound Sumatran tiger, and it takes a team of people for Lola's checkup.

"You see actually on the table, next to a person standing, they're doing a dental, trimming their toe nails, how absolutely large they are," said Teresa Randall, the director of education.

"These are critically endangered species. There are very few left, Sumatran tigers, in the wild,” said D’Agostino.

Lola is 4-years-old and this is her second trip to the doctor since she was born.

"Looking at the eyes is always extremely important,” said D’Agostino.

A dart gun is used to give these large animals anesthesia.

Despite Lola being under, staff still has to be alert.

"We want to make sure we have a lot of people with eyes on the situation in case the cat starts to get a little light and wake up, that we are aware of that so that everyone is safe and sound, including the cat," said D'Agostino.

The exam includes vaccines, blood work and dental cleanings.

"We can really prevent a lot of disease that could cause them disease or discomfort or shorten their life span," said D'Agostino.

At the Joan Kirkpatrick Animal Hospital, there are veterinarians, vet technicians and even zoo chefs on site, making sure each animal has a nutritious diet.

"So, they can not only remain healthy, but so that the visitors can enjoy them, looking, acting and feeling natural," said Randall.

The exam lasted about two hours, and Lola is as healthy as can be.

The Oklahoma City Zoo does allow the public to watch the animal exams, and they are also broadcast online.

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