"The meeting between Samson and his sister Delilah was joyous and emotional," said the director of the zoo, Bezalel Porath. "Samson now has many visitors. We also received letters from kindergartens and telephone calls from many who inquired about his welfare. I want to thank the entire staff of the veterinary Hospital of the Hebrew University for their wonderful work."
Dr. Merav Shamir, a specialist in veterinary neurology and neurosurgery, who diagnosed Samson's medical problem and operated on him, said: "Samson's illness was brought to my attention after symptoms of damage to his nervous system appeared. I was asked to carry out a neurological examination. I saw that he stood on his legs with difficulty. When he tried to walk, he fell after a few steps. He also had no appetite and appeared generally to be in poor condition. I diagnosed that Samson was suffering from damage to the posterior portion of his skull, which applied pressure on his cerebellum and the upper sector of the spinal cord."
This type of damage is known to occur in lions living in captivity and is expressed in abnormal skull growth, exerting pressure on the rear portion of the brain, said Dr. Shamir. A CT exam confirmed that the lion was indeed suffering from a serious distortion of the rear portion of his skull and subsequent brain pressure.
According to veterinary medicine literature, this situation is caused due to a vitamin A deficiency. Even though lions in captivity, (including those at the Rishon Lezion zoo) receive vitamin supplements in their food daily, the symptoms that Samson suffered appear, although rarely, among these animals. In all of the previous cases of this type, the animal d
Contact: Jerry Barach
The Hebrew University of Jerusalem