Home Business Doctor, Your Patient Is Waiting. It’s a Red Panda.

Doctor, Your Patient Is Waiting. It’s a Red Panda.

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BOSTON — Hoppy, a young red panda, was the first patient of the day, carried — and anesthetized — into the exam room so he could get a physical.

Then Mildred, a 24-year-old barnacle goose, wobbled painfully across the floor as veterinarians analyzed her gait. They couldn’t see any improvement 10 days after an earlier exam. Replacement of the degenerating joints isn’t an option for a goose. Maybe acupuncture could help?

Next up was Sofina, an 8-year-old diabetic lemur that had done well on insulin shots for six years, but displayed troubling new symptoms. She kept her right hand clenched, though she could use it when necessary — reminiscent of a human diabetes patient coping with neuropathy.

This was a typical morning for three veterinarians at the Franklin Park Zoo. But it was a fairly unusual one for the Harvard Medical School student alongside them.

Although medical students usually stick to the human species, Harvard med students have been signing up for rotations at the zoo during their final months of training. The clinical elective, offered for the last three years, is also intended to reinforce the idea that animals and people share the same environment.

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