Some of you may be familiar with little Corey’s story. For those that don’t know, Corey is one of our 15 cheetahs here at Wildlife Safari and was part of our most recent cheetah litter that were born in August of 2017. Corey currently lives with his two brothers, Rowdy and Zig-Zag and his sister, Amani.
Corey had a rough start at life. From the start he was the runt of the group. At about 5 months, he began showing symptoms of some spinal and neurological problems. Keepers noticed he had a slight head tilt, and was having some coordination problems. He was having trouble walking straight, was turning in circles and seemed to be having trouble seeing. Wildlife Safari’s vet staff did a full physical on the cheetah, doing blood work and x-rays. The x-rays revealed that Corey had a fractured spine. Everyone was shocked at how well he was doing for having a broken back.
He was placed on some medications and keepers monitored him daily, looking for any changes, big or small, in him. Keepers and vet staff wanted to get a more in depth look at Corey’s head and spine so in June of 2018, Corey underwent an MRI, thanks to the generous help from Mercy Medical in Roseburg. Thanks to the MRI, we were able to find that Corey also had brain lesions, but they had calcified. This meant they were no longer growing, meaning he probably wouldn’t get any worse, but was not going to be a “normal” cheetah like his siblings. Keepers started using a cold laser on his neck and back twice a week to try and promote the healing process.
Corey has surprised us all, and has continued to improve despite his hardships. His head tilt disappeared, he has significantly reduced his circling and is often walking and running straight! His vision has also seemed to return to normal and he currently does not require any medication. He still is a “tiny” cheetah, about half the size as his siblings, weighing 53 pounds, but he is energetic and playful. His big personality makes up for his little size. Keepers and interns have even started to train him.