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Astra and Laerke, the charming 3-year-old polar bear twins residing at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium, recently underwent comprehensive wellness exams, marking a significant milestone in their care journey. Conducted in March, these exams, the first administered under anesthesia since their arrival in June 2023, allowed the zoo’s dedicated veterinarians and keepers to conduct thorough assessments of the sisters’ health.

The meticulous procedure began with the bears being anesthetized in their private behind-the-scenes quarters before being gently transported to the zoo’s state-of-the-art animal hospital. Throughout the exams, the bears’ vital signs, including heart rate, respiratory rate, blood pressure, and temperature, were meticulously monitored to ensure their well-being. In addition to routine physical examinations, radiographs were taken, blood samples were collected for analysis, and essential vaccinations were administered.

Astra underwent allergy testing conducted by volunteer veterinary dermatologists from the Dermatology Clinic for Animals in Lacey, WA, after keepers observed her exhibiting signs of itchiness. The results revealed sensitivities to various environmental allergens, prompting plans for specialized immunotherapy to alleviate her discomfort. Following their exams, both bears recuperated under close observation until fully awake, with Head Veterinarian Dr. Karen Wolf affirming their overall good health. The meticulous care provided to Astra and Laerke underscores Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium’s unwavering commitment to the well-being of its cherished inhabitants.