When it became clear that sinus problems were making life miserable for Eli, a 15-year-old howler monkey at Utah's Hogle Zoo, a decision was made to bring in the best medical talent around to treat him.
And so on Tuesday, tiny scopes were placed into each of Eli's nostrils by a team of doctors, Nancy Carpenter and Erika Crook from the zoo and Richard Orlandi, a professor of surgery at the University of Utah School of Medicine described as the only fellowship-trained nasal and sinus specialist in the Intermountain West.
In an endoscopic procedure at the zoo's L.S. Skaggs Animal Health Center, they inserted 2.7-millimeter scopes into each of Eli's nostrils, enabling them to "see the nasal passages and sinuses as they are flushed and cleaned," said zoo spokeswoman Erica Hansen.
"It's all to provide Eli a better quality of life," Orlandi said.
He said Tuesday marked his first time operating on a monkey, but monkey sinuses are similar to a human's and he said the procedure went well.
Zookeepers noted a couple of months ago that Eli had developed a frequent cough and a thick, white nasal discharge that would not respond to treatment. A CT scan showed the howler monkey had pockets of mucus and severe sinusitis, Hansen said.