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Smithsonian Panda Cub In Perfect Health at First Vet Check

Posted By : The Animal Facts Editorial Team

Date: September 23, 2020 10:40 am

panda cub vet check Smithsonian

The giant panda cub during its health check

Photo Credit: Smithsonian National Zoo

The Smithsonian National Zoo in Washington DC has completed the first health check on their panda cub born on August 21st.

Keepers and vets were able to access the cub on September 19th when mum Mei Xiang exited the den for a short period. This was the second time keepers had performed a check on the cub.

First vets assessed the weight and length of the cub. It weighs a healthy 952g (just over 2 pounds) and measures 34cm (13.4in) long with the tail accounting for 2 inches of the length.

panda cub vet check Smithsonian

The giant panda cub during its health check

Photo Credit: Smithsonian National Zoo

Following this vets performed further checks such as listening to the cubs hearts and lungs, palpating its stomach, testing its suckle reflex and moving all four limbs to assess its musculoskeletal development.

The cubs eyes remain closed though the left eye is beginning to open slightly. Typically the eyes open between 6 and 8 weeks old.

Vets are happy to report that after the assessment all signs are pointing to a happy and healthy cub.

A video of the panda cub during its health check

Video Credit: Smithsonian National Zoo

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We are also a step closer to learning the cubs gender. Vets took a cheek swab so a genetic test can be run to determine the gender. Giant panda cubs appear similar at birth and this means a genetic test is the only way to determine their gender.

The swab was sent to the Center for Conservation Genomics, where Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute Scientists should determine the gender in the coming weeks.

Keepers returned to the cub to the den when it made a squeal which alerted mom Mei Xiang to its presence and the cub was returned to her. Once they were reunited mom picked up and groomed the cub. She was offered some diluted juice by keepers which she happily drunk.

panda cub vet check Smithsonian

The giant panda cub during its health check

Photo Credit: Smithsonian National Zoo

Learn more about the giant panda- Giant Panda Fact File | The Animal Facts

Learn more about the Smithsonian National Zoo on their website Smithsonian National Zoo

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