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A white-nosed coati has an anesthesia mask on.

Katie the white-nosed coati recently underwent a routine exam – and received gold bead implants.

Watch any of our white-nosed coatis in their Rainforest Revealed habitat, and you’ll see how much this species loves to climb and explore.

Our animal care team recently noticed one of our coatis, Katie, having trouble climbing to different areas of the habitat because of her arthritis. At 16 years old, she is the second oldest of her species living in a facility accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. While we’ve adjusted the climbing structures in the habitat and treated Katie with medication, we recently looked to alternative ways to help Katie feel comfortable and live her best life with us.

Our veterinary team turned to gold bead implants, a permanent type of acupuncture, to offer Katie some relief.

Several Zoo residents – including Rafiki the giraffe – have benefitted from acupuncture treatments. Katie is not a good candidate for the basic form of acupuncture, however, due to her nature – can you imagine trying to keep a coati in place to insert thin needles through their skin?

Gold beads, which are actually tiny pieces of gold wire, are implanted into acupuncture points, offering more long-term stimulation of those areas.

During Katie’s recent check-up, gold beads were implanted in her hips, knees and back by Dr. Catie Russell of Equine Wellness and Performance of Central Florida and Kehoe Animal Clinic. To place the gold beads, Dr. Russell placed large needles into the targeted area, placed a single gold bead in the needle, and then flushed the bead into place using saline solution.

While she was under anesthesia, Katie underwent a physical exam, x-rays and teeth cleaning as well. Katie received a clean bill of health overall.

It’s still early to see any changes in Katie, but we hope to see her comfort and mobility improve soon! As an older resident, Katie’s animal care team monitors her mobility and quality of life regularly.

Brevard Zoo is an independent, not-for-profit organization that receives no recurring government funding for our operating costs. Your generous support enables us to continue to serve our community and continue our vital animal wellness, education and conservation programs.