There are no records of where I was born or the details of my early life. I am estimated to have been born in 1985 and I was moved from place to place until I ended up living alone in a small zoo. Save the Chimps rescued me in June of 2013 and today I happily live in Seve’s family. The veterinarians at STC are helping me with a cardiac arrhythmia that they are treating. I was trained to put my fingers on a Kardia device for portable EKG readings, which they check three times per day. I’m a very healthy eater, preferring lettuce and grapes to anything else.
Update from the veterinarian…
During physical exams under anesthesia, his veterinarians found a persistent irregular heart beat on his ECG. An echocardiogram performed by a veterinary specialist, Dr. Woody Hayes, showed normal measurements with no underlying structural heart disease. Although JR showed no obvious symptoms, it was important to identify the type of arrhythmia and how often it occurred.
A small, wireless monitor used to record the electrocardiogram (ECG) in human patients was implanted under the skin above JR’s heart. His ECG was recorded over six months and sent to Dr. Ted Friehling, a human electrophysiology cardiologist from Fairfax, Virginia who flew to Florida specifically to help with the case. Dr. Friehling determined that JR had intermittent atrial fibrillation with a rapid ventricular rate. Atrial fibrillation is the most common type of arrhythmia in humans and occurs when the electrical signals that control contraction of the heart do not work correctly so the upper chambers of the heart (atria) and the lower chambers of the heart (ventricles) become out of sync. This in turn prevents the heart from pumping enough blood to the body. Whether or not it is treated depends on how often it is happening and for how long. JR began treatment with drugs used in human medicine for the same condition; Amiodarone, Metoprolol and baby aspirin, which he happily takes crushed and mixed in grape juice. The heart monitor allows his veterinarians to follow his response to treatment and are pleased with the results. He also has blood work to make sure he is not having any side effects from the medications. This information is very important not only for JR, but for all great apes in captivity as cardiac disease is the most common cause of death in male chimpanzees, gorillas, orangutans and bonobos.
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