April 13, 2011

Orangutan Gets Help From National Jewish Health

An orangutan at the Denver Zoo is breathing easier, thanks in large part to human pulmonologist Jennifer Taylor-Cousar, MD, Jennifer Taylor-Cousar, MDof National Jewish Health. Mias, a 27-year-old orangutan, has what veterinarians believe to be a complex respiratory disease, chronic air sacculitis, which plagues both wild and zoo orangutans.

“Because the physiology of the great apes is more similar to that of humans than to that of other animals, zoos often consult human physicians when a great ape becomes ill,” said Dr. Taylor-Cousar.

Even so, Dr. Taylor-Cousar was surprised, and tickled, when she was paged out of the blue one afternoon to respond to a consult at the zoo. Mias’s disease resembles cystic fibrosis, the disease in which Dr. Taylor-Cousar’s specializes.

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After consulting with veterinarians at the zoo, she prescribed a combination of medications, which the zoo soon delivered through both a PariLC nebulizer and an eFlow Technology nebulizer (PARI Pharma GmbH).
“We know that Mias has been infected with a bacteria called Pseudomonas aeruginosa in the past, so I started him on therapy that we would use in a CF patient including a course of oral and inhaled antibiotics, in addition to an inhaled bronchodilator and inhaled saline solution,” said Taylor-Cousar.


Zookeepers have administered treatments to Mias using the nebulizer twice a day, every day for the last month.  Before he began treatment, Mias was lethargic and could be found in a corner holding his head.  Now he is far more active, alert, and social.


National Jewish Health is known worldwide for treatment of patients with respiratory, cardiac, immune and related disorders, and for groundbreaking medical research. Founded in 1899 as a nonprofit hospital, National Jewish Health remains the only facility in the world dedicated exclusively to these disorders.

Denver Zoo is home to 3,800 animals representing more than 650 species and is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). AZA accreditation assures the highest standards of animal care.

PARI Pharma focuses on the development of aerosol delivery devices and comprehensive inhalation drug development to advance aerosol therapies where drug and device can be optimized together. PARI Pharma, a PARI Medical Holding company, is located near Munich, Germany with a major presence in the United States.

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