Zoo's Unique Treatment Puts King Cobra With Cancer In Remission

A veterinarian at the Denver Zoo has put a king cobra with cancer in remission. Thanks to a unique treatment plan pio...

Posted: Jan 11, 2018 2:42 PM
Updated: Jan 11, 2018 2:42 PM

A veterinarian at the Denver Zoo has put a king cobra with cancer in remission. Thanks to a unique treatment plan pioneered at the zoo, there is no longer any sign of cancer in the huge snake.

Determined zookeepers were able to successfully treat the cancer called lymphosarcoma.

"Which is a type of cancer that affects the scales," said Denver Zoo Associate Veterinarian Betsy Stringer.

Concern started last February when a zookeeper noticed purplish scales. Stringer wanted a closer look.

"His size and being venomous definitely makes this a really challenging patient," she explained to CBS4 Health Specialist Kathy Walsh.

Zoo staff kept the snake asleep with his head in a tube hooked to an anesthesia machine. It took nine X-rays to evaluate his 13-foot long body.

A biopsy confirmed the cancer. But what next?

"There's no publication that tells me how to treat lymphosarcoma in a king cobra, so this was uncharted territory," said Stringer.

Stringer worked with a veterinary oncologist at Colorado State University and came up with a treatment plan.

"The chemotherapy drug we used is used in domestic cats, in people," said Stringer.

It's a little trickier treating a cobra. In this case, a pill was put in the throat of a dead rat. The cobra was fed one every three weeks for five months. A biopsy in December showed success.

"The cancer did not come back and he's officially in remission," said Stringer.

This is one lucky reptile with the Denver Zoo able to tip the scales in his favor.

The zoo plans to publish its treatment plan in a scientific journal to help other sick snakes. The cobra at the zoo is considered geriatric, almost 19 years old, but zookeepers are happy to have bought him some time.

West Lafayette
Clear
76° wxIcon
Hi: 92° Lo: 67°
Feels Like: 76°
Kokomo
Clear
73° wxIcon
Hi: 89° Lo: 66°
Feels Like: 73°
Rensselaer
Clear
73° wxIcon
Hi: 88° Lo: 64°
Feels Like: 73°
Fowler
Clear
73° wxIcon
Hi: 89° Lo: 66°
Feels Like: 73°
Williamsport
Clear
76° wxIcon
Hi: 90° Lo: 66°
Feels Like: 78°
Crawfordsville
Clear
76° wxIcon
Hi: 90° Lo: 66°
Feels Like: 76°
Frankfort
Scattered Clouds
78° wxIcon
Hi: 90° Lo: 67°
Feels Like: 80°
Delphi
Clear
76° wxIcon
Hi: 91° Lo: 66°
Feels Like: 78°
Monticello
Clear
76° wxIcon
Hi: 90° Lo: 65°
Feels Like: 78°
Logansport
Clear
75° wxIcon
Hi: 90° Lo: 64°
Feels Like: 75°
WLFI Radar
WLFI Temps
WLFI Planner

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 45952

Reported Deaths: 2650
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion11387679
Lake4872240
Elkhart308543
Allen2677114
St. Joseph184965
Cass16369
Hamilton1484100
Hendricks136699
Johnson1235118
Porter68537
Madison64363
Tippecanoe6408
Clark62244
Bartholomew57844
Howard54356
LaPorte53925
Kosciusko4952
LaGrange4596
Jackson4553
Noble44728
Vanderburgh4306
Hancock42935
Delaware42648
Boone42242
Shelby41625
Marshall4123
Floyd36344
Morgan32031
Montgomery28720
Grant28526
Clinton2792
Dubois2606
White25810
Monroe25628
Decatur24632
Henry23515
Lawrence23124
Vigo2248
Harrison20822
Dearborn20422
Warrick20129
Greene18431
Miami1802
Jennings16911
Putnam1658
DeKalb1594
Scott1547
Daviess13916
Orange13323
Wayne1286
Franklin1248
Steuben1232
Perry1209
Ripley1127
Carroll1092
Jasper1092
Wabash1072
Fayette967
Newton9510
Whitley814
Randolph764
Starke733
Huntington702
Wells681
Jay670
Fulton661
Jefferson651
Washington641
Pulaski631
Knox620
Clay594
Rush573
Benton480
Adams451
Owen451
Gibson442
Sullivan441
Brown381
Blackford372
Posey350
Spencer311
Tipton301
Crawford290
Fountain292
Switzerland250
Martin220
Parke220
Ohio140
Warren141
Union130
Vermillion130
Pike80
Unassigned0194

COVID-19 Important links and resources

As the spread of COVID-19, or as it's more commonly known as the coronavirus continues, this page will serve as your one-stop for the resources you need to stay informed and to keep you and your family safe. CLICK HERE

Closings related to the prevention of the COVID-19 can be found on our Closings page.

Community Events