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A sedated ring-tailed lemur receives gold bead acupuncture.

Two of our older animal residents recently received gold bead implants, a permanent type of acupuncture, as our animal care team works to help them age comfortably with us.

Thirteen-year-old Louise the red kangaroo and 26-year-old Magee the ring-tailed lemur both received these implants in some key areas in their body to offer them some relief from arthritis. Dr. Catie Russell of Equine Wellness and Performance of Central Florida and Kehoe Animal Clinic placed the beads during exams for Louise and Magee.

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

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 at different joints using saline solution. Louise had gold beads placed at 11 points in her hips and legs, while Magee had them placed at 10 points throughout his body, including his hands.

In addition, fat was taken from Louise’s lower back for stem cell cultures for future therapies. The fat cells were sent to a specialized laboratory, where stem cells will be taken from the fat and concentrated. If needed, those stem cells can be used to treat her arthritis.

It’s still early to see any changes in Louise and Magee, but we hope to see her comfort and mobility improve soon! As older residents, their animal care teams monitors their 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.