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A Roaring Earache!

Having an earache can make all of us feel ill and grumpy and is definitely not fun.

But imagine if you were looking after a 28-stone lion with an earache!

That was the challenge for keepers at London Zoo.

Twelve-year-old endangered Asiatic lion Bhanu has had frequent problems with his left ear for a while, and attempts to resolve the issue, including specialist ear examinations and cleaning, all failed.

But hope is on the horizon, as vets have come up with a new plan after hiring a special scanner to try to find out what was causing the problem.

Taina Strike, the zoo's senior vet, said: "We wanted to devise the best long-term treatment plan for Bhanu, but we first had to find out what was causing the problem and urgently rule out a tumour or a deep-seated infection, which would show up on a CAT scan immediately.

"Bhanu is an important member of the European-wide breeding programme for endangered Asiatic lions and deserves the very best care," said Taina.

So we arranged the full VIP treatment, bringing a CAT scanner to a big cat for the first time, so we could see deeper into his ear without him needing to travel."

The 180kg lion was put under anaesthetic before being lifted on to the scanner.

Australian specialist David Reese was present via video-link and quickly identified the problem - Bhanu has a narrow left ear canal, which make it more prone to blockages and infections.

The team have now created a long-term treatment plan for his care, in which he will receive medicine to reduce inflammation in his ear canal and anti-fungals to deal with infection.

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