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A Chance for Bongo
April 2, 2014
Bongo's strong arms give us hope that he will get around fine without the use of his legs. He is already becoming a macho man!

Please help us give Bongo a chance at life as a paraplegic. Bongo is about 40 years old and spent more than half of his life in iron toxicity studies. Bongo arrived at Jungle Friends Primate Sanctuary from the lab about 10 years ago -- and we want to give him another 10 years! 
Last month Bongo was walking very stiff-legged and having trouble climbing and balancing. We started him on arthritis medications to help his joints. We also rebuilt his habitat to accommodate his new disability. Unfortunately, a few days later he was dragging both of his legs -- here is the video we sent to Dr. Schirmer that sad day.

Bongo could not walk!

Even in the clinic, Bongo is alert and charming, but we know he is missing his best friend KC. 
When we took Bongo in for radiographs to understand what was causing the paralysis, Dr. Schirmer told us that Bongo has spondylosis, calcified intervertebral discs, severe degenerative joint disease and a collapsed vertebrae.

We could not have received worse news.

Dr. Schirmer started Bongo on steroid injections and a PEG procedure and when he still could not use his legs, our hearts sank.

Bongo has such a will to live. Even after spending weeks in the clinic Bongo was still the happy, charming monkey we all love. If you knew Bongo like we know Bongo, you would not give up on him -- and we are not about to!

Kendra Buchanan helps Bongo practice pullups. You can help too!
We called Dr. Heard at the vet school and he suggested an MRI to further assess his condition, with the hope that the disc could be repaired surgically. Our hopes were dashed when we were told that Bongo's collapsed disc had ruptured into the spinal cord causing it to compress, pinch the nerves and cause full paralysis of his rear limbs.

Bongo will never regain the use of his legs.

But if you know me, you know that I believe in monkey miracles! So we set about building a habitat for a paraplegic monkey. It is filled with ropes and ladders, as well as raised feeding platforms to encourage Bongo to move about the habitat using his arms and get more exercise -- he has quite a belly on him from being immobile. We moved Bongo into the re-habitat and then re-introduced him to his companion, KC, and a grooming fest resulted! Watch this video to see the sweet reunion with KC. We have high hopes that Bongo will manage, but he may need to have both legs amputated. Of course, Jersey's leg amputation didn't slow him down in the slightest, so we are encouraged Bongo will meet with the same success.

Bongo in re-habitat
Our veterinary technician Kendra says "It is going to be a long haul for Bongo, but he is getting stronger and more coordinated every day. He is using his arms to swing and move around using the ropes -- Bongo's strong spirit and will to live never cease to amaze me."

Please send a donation for Bongo's medical expenses and consider sponsoring Bongo.


Kari Bagnall


P.S. Be sure to 'like' us on Facebook, where we will post daily updates, videos and photos of Bongo's progress. Here is Bongo's Photo Album


Tribute to Tyler 

We are very sad to announce that Tyler passed away on March 10 from cancer. Tyler was only 18, and his illness took all of us by surprise.

On February
23 Tyler was lethargic and dehydrated. In our onsite clinic, we gave him oxygen, fluids, vitamins and antibiotics. Tyler's blood work came back showing elevated kidney values so we increased his fluids, changed his diet and supplemented him with a drug to support kidney function. But worse, his blood showed elevated calcium levels, which could mean cancer. 
Tyler's breathing worsened, so he saw Dr. Schirmer for x-rays and further evaluation on March 3rd. His radio-graphs showed no sign of respiratory difficulties. He stayed in the clinic where he received TLC and medical care from Kendra and Micah, our veterinary technicians. After a few
Tyler waking from anesthesia with Rae Sikora.
more days in the clinic he was back to his bright, happy self so we released Tyler back outside with his companions, Elvis and Sammy. While we kept a close eye on him, Tyler enjoyed the outdoors with his friends for almost a week before he began having trouble breathing again and had to return to the clinic. His blood work showed that his calcium levels had continued to increase. These values further suggested cancer. Tyler continued to decline.

Sweet Tyler put up a good fight, bu
t in the end cancer took his life on March 10, 2014.  
Mary Anne, our special needs volunteer and supporter, wrote this tribute to Tyler:

"Tyler's 18th birthday was documented with great fanfare on TV 20 News last May. I never had a little brother, but knowing Tyler gave me the opportunity to experience w
hat it is like to have one! Funny, pesky, sweet, infuriating, gentle, destructive and loving - Tyler was all of those wrapped up in one! He was the Master Eyeglass Thief, having stolen and destroyed at least 6 pair of mine. No one will ever match his speed and precision! He kept us all on our toes, that's for sure. I will miss you, Tyler, and am thankful for the wonderful memories."

Please donate to our Memorial Medical Fund in memory of our dear, sweet Tyler. 
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