Little Rock Zoo gorilla, Catherine, on road to recovery after stroke

Local News

LITTLE ROCK, Ark.- Little Rock Zoo officials say one of their adult female gorillas, Catherine, is recovering after suffering a stroke earlier this month.

According to a news release sent Monday from the Little Rock Zoo, Catherine suffered a stroke on August 12, leaving her right side paralyzed.

Officials say Catherine was reintroduced to her outdoor habitat and her companion, Brutus, for the first time last Wednesday since experiencing the stroke.

“A stroke in a gorilla can be similar to a stroke in a human. With a stroke of this nature, we have to wait and see if there will be any further improvement in her function of the right side,” said Dr. Sara Stoneburg, Zoo Veterinarian.

Zoo officials say Radiology Associates, P.A. helped the staff confirm an ischemic infarct in Catherine’s left cortex.

The veterinary staff immediately started Catherine on cholesterol and blood-thinning medication, according to the news release.

Officials say the Zoo animal keeper staff have started a modified motion physical therapy plan based on her past training.

Zoo staff says Catherine has regained some movement in her right leg, but her right arm is still very flaccid.

According to the zoo staff, Catherine has learned to compensate for her limitations and is able to climb easily.

Zoo staff says she seems eager to be outdoors and back with Brutus again.

Officials say as gorillas and other great apes age, heart disease is common; however, strokes are not common.

According to officials, gorillas and other apes are susceptible to stroke, just like humans.

Little Rock zoo officials say they are grateful Radiology Associates, P.A., stepped in to assist.

Staff says Catherine is 37 years old and came to the Little Rock Zoo from Toronto in 2004.

She is currently in the east yard with Brutus, a 42 year old who has been living at the zoo since 1990.

According to zoo officials, the other gorilla family reside in the adjacent yard.

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