December 27th is Visit The Zoo Day! Take advantage of this day to have fantastic family fun while supporting some of our local zoos, such as Zoo Miami and Jungle Island. Elephants, lions, crocodiles, and orangutans are just a few of the many animals you could see during your visit.
Peanut and Pumpkin are Jungle Island’s very own miracle orangutan babies –they’re fraternal twins, a rarity in the animal kingdom! Both of them are very intelligent (have you ever seen an orangutan communicate via an iPad?!) and have the unique personalities. Unfortunately, Peanut was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma (lymph tissue cancer) at the age of eight back in 2012.
Peanut’s diagnosis came after major abdominal surgery was performed by the veterinarians at Miami Veterinary Specialists. Surgery was performed by two of our board-certified surgeons: Dr. Alvaro Larin and Dr. Marc Wosar.
Peanut was brought to MVS in June of 2012 when she became lethargic, constipated, and had refused to eat. After performing several tests, the x-rays and CT scan clearly showed that her intestines were dilated, implying that there was an intestinal obstruction. The condition was life-threatening and needed to be taken care of immediately. Dr. Larin and Dr. Wosar proceeded with surgery. In order to remove the obstruction, an intestinal resection and anastomosis had to be performed. Thanks to their commitment and specialized care, Peanut recovered well and was on her path to recovery.
But with one solution came another problem… primates are curious by nature and Peanut would definitely be interested in her new incision and stitches. The surgeons knew that this could slow down her recovery. “We decided to put small stitches on her arms to distract her” shared Dr. Larin. “But we knew that wouldn’t cut it, so we painted her nails with a bright nail color and wrapped her hands with bandages, sort of like boxing gloves. When she woke up from surgery, she was intrigued by the gloves. She slowly wrapped off her gloves then stared at her nails for a few minutes, and eventually, she picked at her arm stitches but never fiddled with her incision.”
This wasn’t Peanut’s first time at MVS. A few years ago, she came in with an apparent ear problem. Dr. Larin shares his experience working with such a memorable creature like Peanut: “After various tests, we concluded that there was nothing wrong with her ear. There were no internal or external signs that called for an ear problem or infection, but her caretakers insisted that she frequently held her ear for minutes at a time. It didn’t take me long to figure out that Peanut had outsmarted everyone… she was mimicking a human on a cell phone!”
Peanut is now a cancer survivor and lives a seemingly happy life with her sister back home at Jungle Island. Miami Veterinary Specialists was given a special “thank you” gift from Jungle Island and Peanut: a portrait of Peanut holding the hand of the surgeon who saved her life and a hand painted portrait by Peanut herself!