Our Partner Vet, Dr. Ilana Strubel (who runs our OrthoPets Partner Clinic in San Francisco, A Well Adjusted Pet) recently took a safari trip in Africa. While she was in Namibia, she helped fit an OrthoPets elbow orthotic for Tiger, a Cheetah Scat detection dog for the Cheetah Conservation Fund. Dr. Strubel writes:

One of the most exciting parts of the visit to CCF for me personally was bringing a custom-made Elbow Orthotic (Brace) donated by my custom orthotics partner Ortho Pets in Colorado! I had pre-ordered the device for “Tiger” who is a Cheetah Scat Detection dog who had been injured and unable to perform his important work.

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Dr. Strubel places Tiger’s orthotic.

I first learned about “Tiger” (the best ‘Cheetah Scat Detection Dog’ in all of Namibia) at a lecture given by CCF Director, Dr. Laurie Marker at the Wildlife Conservation Network Expo last April. She mentioned that “Tiger” had broken his left front leg and that despite the best veterinary care available in Namibia, he was still too painful on the leg and he was no longer able to do his important work of detecting “black gold” = Cheetah Scat (fecal matter)!

 

 

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Handsome Tiger models his orthotic.

The Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF) runs the scat sampling project through its Applied Biosystems Conservation Genetics Laboratory, with the aim to provide a non-invasive method of collecting DNA from animals. The genetics lab collects scat samples to help obtain genetic ID of individual cheetahs around CCF and it also helps determine the number of different cheetah represented in the samples. The samples are mostly collected with the aid of the scat-detecting dogs!

 

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Tiger with his caregivers and Dr. Strubel.

So far “Tiger” is acclimating well to his new elbow orthotic (Brace). The most recent progress report from his caregivers, William and Stephanie, is that he is adjusting to using the orthotic well, putting more weight on that leg again, and having less pain and lameness after he’s been in his brace. Our goal is to hopefully get him back out in the field doing what he loves most- sniffing for and finding wild Cheetah scat, and just being a sweet and goofy dog (playing fetch with his favorite object, lemons) without pain!!

 

To read more about why dogs are trained to find wild Cheetah Scat (fecal matter) click here: https://cheetah.org/blog/news-scat-dog-program/

 

You can get involved and help support the work of CCF here:
https://cheetah.org/you-can-help/

 

Overall, visiting southern Africa was simply AMAZING and helping Cheetah conservation in action by sharing my rehab skills in helping “Tiger” with his custom orthotic was equally exciting.

Thanks for the update, Dr. Strubel!