Cincinnati Zoo calls in chiropractor to treat Malayan tiger cub

Posted at 9:03 AM, Feb 18, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-20 07:37:00-05

CINCINNATI -- One of three Malayan tiger cubs at the Cincinnati Zoo's nursery has been treated by a chiropractor.

One of the newborn cubs was having trouble holding its head up, the zoo said.

"It was obvious to me that something wasn’t right. The cub’s neck appeared to be stuck at an odd angle," said Dawn Strasser, a 35-year veteran in the zoo’s nursery. "Massaging the neck muscles helped with the stiffness, but the cub was increasingly lethargic and not suckling well."

A chiropractor, Mark Sperbeck, determined the cub's top cervical bone was out of alignment. After three adjustments, the cub's neck and spine are back in place.

This is the first time the zoo has used a chiropractor.

The 2-week-old cubs are progressing. Mammals curator Mike Dulaney said they are being fed by nursery staff six times a day and have graduated from 2 to 3 ounces per feeding.

"Before they open their eyes, they usually just eat and sleep," Dulaney said. "Now that they can see where they’re going, they will start to become more active."

The cubs will stay at the zoo's nursery until they no longer need constant care, which began after the first-time mother's maternal instincts didn't kick in.