MENU
component-ddb-728x90-v1-01-desktop

You've never seen an animal hospital like this ever!

(Photo: Columbus Zoo)

This animal hospital isn't for your dog or your cat. This is for wild animals.

There are 10,000 patients from 800 species and just four doctors to oversee them all.

"You learn to categorize," said Dr. Randy Junge, the veterinarian in charge. "A zebra is a horse. A lion is pretty much a great big house cat and a bear is sort of like a dog, but not really."

Junge is the vice president of animal health for the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium.

"Venomous snakes. They are more challenging because they don't eat daily," he told ABC6/FOX28. "Many of them will eat weekly. So, if we need to medicate one, we can't put it in their food."

Junge has a staff of three other veterinarians. As a group, they have to innovate some, often, "wild" ideas to treat their patients.

"We had a komodo dragon that had arthritis," he said. "I called a company that makes prosthetics for humans and I said, we need some sort of brace."

Junge has been with the Zoo for three years, but has worked with zoo animals for nearly three decades.

And after thirty years in the business, he finally has a baby polar bear on his patient list, Nora.

"She's not as cuddly as you would suspect watching her," he said while laughing. "She's very standoffish. She wants to be fed, but then she doesn't play like a puppy would."

Nora, now 15-weeks old, lost her sibling soon after the mother bear gave birth.

"It's not unusual with wild animals who have multiple births to lose one."

Junge said Nora will eventually move up to the bear exhibit in the coming months.

"That's the exciting thing about being a zoo veterinarian. Almost every day, I am faced with something I haven't done before, which is fun or frustrating depending on how it goes."

Trending