Memphis Zoo monkey tested for rare illness after nosebleeds

Doctors performing CT scan on Benjamin Button. (Source: Memphis Veterinary Services)
Doctors performing CT scan on Benjamin Button. (Source: Memphis Veterinary Services)

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Thursday, a beloved zoo animal was taken to the only CT Scan in West Tennessee for veterinary use to help solve a medical mystery.

The affectionately named Benjamin Button, an almost 2 year old Spot-Nosed Guenon, was the first primate at Memphis Veterinary Specialist for a CT scan, with the region's only board certified veterinary radiologist Dr. Jennifer Miller.

"Hopefully I can see something abnormal that would tip them off on how to treat him," said Dr. Miller.

Zoo staff said they first saw Benjamin with a bloody nose this past May. However within the last week and a half he showed other signs. Signs included a left-sided heat tilt, imbalance, and tremoring of his left arm. After several tests they hoped a CT scan could help solve what was wrong.

"With wild animals it's difficult sometime to tell if they're sick...because they mask any symptoms because they don't want any predators to think they're sick," said Matt Thompson, Director of Animal programs with Memphis Zoo.

Dr. Miller said scanning an animal isn't much different than a human.

"With our patients you can't really tell them to hold still and hold their breath," said Dr. Miller.

After the scan, zoo staff said no abnormalities were seen. So they're looking into possible bacterial or fungal infections as a cause for Benjamin's recent behavior.

However they told us he will be back with his family as they continue looking into his recovery.

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