Potential blood transfusion may offer lion chance of survival


14-year-old lion suffering from health issues may get blood transfusion from his brother if they’re a match

Photo courtesy of Zoo New England.

Photo courtesy of Zoo New England.

Franklin Park Zoo in Boston, Massachusetts recently announced that Dinari, a 14-year-old male lion, is to undergo a medical procedure to potentially help his brother Kamaia, also age 14, who is suffering from serious health issues.

According to the release,1 the zoo veterinary team is going to draw blood from Dinari to see if it is a match with Kamaia, who is severely anemic, so they can perform a blood transfusion. Though there is always risk when anesthesia is administered, Dinari is in good health and the team feels his risk is minimal for this brief procedure, which could give his brother the best chance of survival.

“We remain very concerned about Kamaia and his ongoing serious health issues. These procedures are approached with great thought and consideration, and while there is risk and many unknowns as to what we could find, this is the best course of action to try and treat Kamaia,” said Chris Bonar, VMD, AB, Zoo New England director of animal health, in the release.1

The veterinary team is also planning to further perform exploratory surgery on Kamaia to try to find the cause of his ongoing health issues. Kamaia underwent a medical exam last week including collection of blood, urine, spleen, and bone marrow samples, as well as X-rays of his chest and abdomen, to try and discover what is going on. He was successfully treated for severe pneumonia earlier this spring, but at the time it seemed he also had some chronic underlying health issues, although comprehensive diagnostic tests were inconclusive.

According to the release,1 the exam did uncover that Kamaia’s spleen is greatly enlarged, which could be the cause of the anemia he is experiencing, however, it is still unclear whether he has something more systemic affecting his health.

“Dinari and Kamaia were born in the same litter, and are an incredibly close, tightly-bonded pair. These decisions are being carefully considered with both of their best interests in mind,” said John Linehan, Zoo New England president and CEO, in the release. “The Animal Care and veterinary teams have been working extraordinarily hard to care for Kamaia, and I would like to commend them for their dedication, care and professionalism during this challenging time.”1

Dinari and Kamaia have lived at Franklin Park Zoo since 2015. Updates on the health of the lions will be available after Friday.


Medical procedures planned for lions at Franklin Park Zoo. News release. Zoo New England. June 7, 2023. Accessed June 8, 2023. https://www.zoonewengland.org/zoo-news/2023/june/medical-procedures-planned-for-lions-at-franklin-park-zoo

Related Videos
dvm360 Live! with Dr. Adam Christman
© 2023 MJH Life Sciences

All rights reserved.