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OKC Animal Hospital Gives Visitors An Inside Look At The OKC Zoo

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The Oklahoma City Zoo is celebrating the opening of its new, multi-million dollar animal hospital. The Oklahoma City Zoo is celebrating the opening of its new, multi-million dollar animal hospital.
OKLAHOMA CITY -

The Oklahoma City Zoo is celebrating the opening of its new, multi-million dollar animal hospital.

It took five years of planning and fundraising, but some of its features make this zoo hospital one of the premier in the nation.

The old animal hospital was not on the zoo property, however the new Joan Kirkpatrick Animal Hospital is at the zoo.

A Chilean flamingo was in the new examination room on Tuesday.

It had a nasal tumor removed and the veterinary team was checking to see if additional surgery was needed.

This was just a regular day for the veterinary staff at their brand new animal hospital.

“We are so excited to have this new facility, it's so much bigger first and foremost from our other hospital,” said Dr. Jennifer D'Agostino, director of veterinary services at the Oklahoma City Zoo. “We've got about three times more space than what we did."

The 20,000 square foot facility has a $9 million price tag and the coolest feature for the public is watching it all happen.

“It's certainly something we need to get used to, it's not something we've really done before,” D’Agostino told News 9.  “It'll just give the visitor a whole new view into what it takes to care for the collection here at the zoo."

Through the giant glass windows, zoo guests can watch anything from toenail clippings to complex surgery.

“These are live procedures, whatever we are doing, people are seeing so it could be, sometimes animals may die, we know that,” D’Agostino said. “That's the circle of life, so some people may see that."

The Oklahoma City zoo hospital is one of only about 5 in the nation that offers an inside look for visitors.

It is a big plus for Oklahoma animal care.

“It's kind of a state of the art, science learning experience that no one really expects when they come to the zoo,” said Dana McCrory, executive director of the Oklahoma Zoological Society.

The animal hospital is open to the public the same hours as the zoo is open.

The staff is going to work on getting a schedule of planned procedures on its website and social media.

However, emergency procedures or unplanned exams also happen.

Half of the $9 million it took to build the zoo hospital came from a 1/8 cent sales tax and the other half came from 623 private donors.

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