A procedure to check on Sheila the Cheetah's hind legs – February 2019

On Monday 18 February, we asked wildlife vet, Dr. Peter Rogers, to assess Sheila the cheetah’s hind legs. They appeared to be quite stiff when she walked, and she had troubles standing for long periods.
Dr. Rogers had to sedate her to check her but could find no evidence of any injuries or reasons for the stiffness. He gave her some pain medication to see if helps as we continue to monitor her.

Dr. Rogers examining Sheila

Today, four days later, we are happy to say she is already walking a lot better but still on medication.  We will continue to monitor her for any further irregularity in her walking
Here are some photos and step by step details of the quick procedure, kindly supplied by our head curator, Linri Janse van Rensburg 

  • First, we sedate the cheetah.
  • We then check her microchip to ensure that we have the correct cheetah that we are working on, so their medical records are always accurate.
Every cheetah must first be identified for accurate medical records
  • We then covered her eyes with a cloth to protect them from the harsh sun as well as any dust, as their eyes remain open naturally when sedated.
We cover the cheetah’s eyes as they stay open when sedated
  • We checked her vitals after being sedated to ensure her heartbeat and breathing was regular.
Checking Sheila’s heartbeat and breathing
  • A catheter is inserted into her leg to prepare for the administration of medication as well as the antidote when the procedure is complete.


We inserted a catheter.

  • We proceed to check all of her limbs, looking for any irregularities of areas of concern. Fortunately, Dr. Rogers could not see or feel anything out of the ordinary

Dr.Rogers checking Sheila’s legs for any irregularities

  • We continue to check her temperature throughout the process
Checking her body temperature
  • Dr. Rogers administered some pain medication to try help with any discomfort she may have been experiencing.
Administering Pain medication_cheetah_HESC
Administering Pain medication
  • An antidote is given to wake Sheila up.


Administering Pain medication_cheetah_HESC
Administering Pain medication

The HESC Volunteer programme, Wildlife Conservation Experience had its participants observing and learning about the procedure in person
HESC Volunteers observed the process

The procedure went quickly and easily, with as little stress for Sheila as possible.
As mentioned earlier,  Sheila’s legs are doing much better, however, we will continue to keep a very close eye on her for any signs of concern again.
We will keep you updated.
The HESC Team