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Northwest Trek News
Jan 10, 2024

One of Northwest Trek Wildlife Park’s resident river otters, Blakely, recently had a dentist appointment to fix a fractured tooth. Blakely traveled with Northwest Trek’s head veterinarian, Dr. Allison Case, to sister zoo Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium’s healthcare hospital for the exam. Typically, Blakely would be treated at Northwest Trek, but the dentist was already at Point Defiance Zoo treating a tiger for a similar dental issue. Dr. Alice Sievers, a board-certified veterinary dentist and one of only 250 veterinary dental specialists in the world, volunteered her time with veterinary assistant Sharon Ghormley and veterinary technician Taylor Parker, all …

Oct 09, 2023

We’re celebrating Northwest Trek’s two incredible vet techs for Veterinary Technician Week (Oct. 15-21)! The vet techs assist the veterinarians in every aspect of animal health care: Prepping for procedures. Monitoring animal vitals. Taking blood samples. Working with keepers to help animals participate in their health care. Giving treatments. Endless administrative support. “Our veterinary technicians, Tracy and Deanna, perform a vast array of duties, and the veterinary clinic could not function without them,” said Head Veterinarian Dr. Allison Case. “We are so grateful for what each of them brings to the position and consider ourselves very lucky to have them …

Jul 20, 2023

To train any animal, you need their trust! A blood draw can be one of the most challenging behaviors – especially for a 478-pound bear – and one that has taken keeper Haley and black bear Benton nearly two months to achieve. When animals participate in their own healthcare, everyone wins! Watch as carnivore keeper Haley patiently works with 15-year-old Benton behind the scenes on blood draw training with a blunt syringe as a training device. Benton carefully presents his massive paw through a bear paw-sized opening in the training space as Haley coaches him and then uses tasty honey …

Jun 30, 2023

Black bears Fern and Benton are long-time residents of Northwest Trek Wildlife Park. And the veterinary teams at Northwest Trek and Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium have a long-standing history of joining forces. So, when it was time for the bears’ triennial wellness exams, Northwest Trek head veterinarian Dr. Allison Case invited Zoo intern veterinarian Dr. Cassidy Soehnlein to participate. The Exams Routine wellness exams are a critical component of animal well-being. With regular check-ups, the veterinary staff (veterinarian) can monitor the health of Fern and Benton. They can also act quickly if any concerns arise. Both black bears received …

Apr 18, 2023

If Dr. Karen Wolf needs another skilled set of hands for a tiger procedure, she knows who to call. And if Dr. Allison Case has a beaver or owl that needs attention while she’s out of town, she has a second clinic just a van-trip away. The two women are head veterinarians of Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium and Northwest Trek Wildlife Park, respectively – and these sister zoos have veterinary teams with a long tradition of helping each other. “People don’t realize there’s this crossover,” explains Dr. Wolf of the unique veterinary partnership. “I have absolute confidence that if …

Apr 06, 2023

Giving a health exam to the top feline predator in the Pacific Northwest takes a team of dedicated professionals – something our cougar Carly has here at Northwest Trek. Carly’s team has worked extensively with her for years to ensure exams run smoothly and safely. Carly’s predator status, size, and nature make getting to the exam room slightly different. Through training (and plenty of treats), Carly will now voluntarily take injections to initiate her sedation. She finds a comfortable resting place in her “bedroom” and lets the medicine take effect. Once it’s safe, the veterinary team led by Dr. Allison …

Mar 27, 2023

The signs of spring are here. Flowers are blooming. Trees are green, and the weather is warmer. At Northwest Trek Wildlife Park, we also have another sign to celebrate. Our black bears and grizzlies begin to emerge from torpor and let us know spring is indeed here! What is Torpor? We visited Keeper Haley to get the details. Torpor is a form of hibernation. True hibernation means an animal’s body shuts down and it goes dormant. An example is some species of frogs and bats; they have no activity in the winter. Torpor is a reduction in activity. It comes …

Mar 14, 2023

Even the mightiest birds under our care have routine health exams to ensure they remain in great shape. For the bald eagles, Sequoia, Sucia, Salish, and Cheveyo, this was preventative medicine in action. Having healthy birds allows Head Veterinarian Dr. Allison Case to focus on their continued wellness.  Keepers and the veterinary staff work seamlessly together to take each eagle to the veterinary clinic for exams. It’s a two-day process, and the team starts with Salish and Sucia. Sequoia and Cheveyo have their exams on the second day. Each bird traveled to the clinic fully awake, and after a careful, …

Feb 24, 2023

February is National Dental Month and gray wolf Canagan’s story of early intervention highlights the importance of maintaining those chompers.  Our Head Veterinarian, Dr. Allison Case, examined our three wolves for a routine checkup in November. Working with our sister zoo, Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium, Dr. Case x-rayed our male wolf Canagan’s molar for a closer look. Canagan has a minor infection and is receiving antibiotics. His pearly whites and overall health for a 10-year-old wolf are stable. Dr. Case will follow up with a veterinary dentist on the next steps for Canagan.

Nov 18, 2022

Our three 10-year-old gray wolves were given a clean bill of health at their triennial examinations in early November. Northwest Trek Head veterinarian Dr. Allison Case led the exams with the assistance of veterinary technician Tracy and keepers Haley, Carly, and Aynsley. On average, gray wolves weigh 75 to 110 pounds. At their exams, Canagan, the resident male wolf, weighed 103 pounds, and females Tala and Darci both weighed 83 pounds. Each wolf received a complete checkup: full physical exam, blood and urine analyses, vaccinations, X-rays, nail trims, and a dental cleaning. And, of course, Dr. Case ensured the wolves …