One-Year-Old Tapir to Undergo Neurological Tests


Palm Beach Zoo is taking one of its animals to a veterinary neurologist this week to diagnose a medical condition believed to have been around since birth.

At nearly a year old, Timmy was the first Baird’s tapir to be born at the Palm Beach Zoo on March 31, 2012. Zoo keepers hand raised him because Timmy’s mother did not demonstrate good maternal behaviors. Since his birth, keepers have been watching him closely. Over the past 11 ½ months, they’ve witnessed Timmy fall at times but exams never revealed any problems. Until last week, when Palm Beach Zoo Clinical Veterinarian Dr. Genny Dumonceaux saw Timmy have his worst episode to date. She immediately called a veterinary neurologist who evaluated the tapir that day. It was determined that Timmy undergo further neurological tests including a CAT scan and MRI to diagnose his condition and the damage it has caused.

Exams have been able to determine that there is an unstable area between the tapir’s skull and first two vertebrae which has progressively gotten worse over time. It’s possible that his brain is growing faster than his skull which is putting pressure on his brain. The Zoo puts the health and safety of its animals first. By taking Timmy to a specialist, Zoo staff is doing everything it can to help extend his life. The procedure involves risks and if at any point, Timmy’s life is in jeopardy, the procedure will stop.

Zoo will keep you informed of his health status and update you on the procedure. 

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