How do you treat a gorilla for pneumonia? Very carefully, new Zoo Miami video shows

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A gorilla at Zoo Miami stayed calmer than some people we know when getting medical treatment while fully awake, newly released video shows.

Barney, a 28-year-old silverback lowland gorilla, fell ill with minor pneumonia in late October and needed a nebulizer, the zoo says. The treatment, just like with sick people, involves inhaling medications that go directly into the lungs through the nostrils.

“Though this is usually not difficult to do for most humans who understands the purpose of the nebulizer, it’s much more of a challenge with a nearly 400-pound gorilla!” zoo spokesman Ron Magill said on Monday. “To effectively administer treatment, the patient must remain still and voluntarily inhale the medication.”

Amazingly, Barney, who was separated from a worker with a safety barrier, complied. Actually, more than complied. He seems (dare we say it?) downright chill.

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Was he sedated? Not in the least. Magill confirmed to the Miami Herald that Barney received no tranquilizers or any other drugs before receiving care.

“He is naturally relaxed and actually seems to enjoy the treatment,” said the local celebrity animal expert. “It is a great reflection of the trust he has in his keepers.”

This is good news: Anesthesia is often the most dangerous part of any aminal procedure.

The treatments proved to be highly beneficial for the “cooperative” gentle giant, who is now recovered and back in his habitat with brother Shango. The siblings, who were both born at the San Francisco Zoo, came to Zoo Miami in May 2017.

It’s not just a simple doctor’s visit when the patient is a gorilla.

In 2018, Barney had another health scare. After suffering from a persistent cough, the big guy had to be sedated to be examined. Specialists found he had mites in his airways.

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