Not quite what you want to be reading whilst you’re gobbling down your cornflakes we’re sure.

But a gorilla with constipation at Paignton Zoo has been keeping zoo keepers on their toes with what they have called poo-shakes.

When fruit and veg won’t shift it

Pertinax, a 36 year old Western lowland gorilla has been dogged with constipation for a fair amount of time.

After a period of using traditional methods, of oranges and prunes, they decided to bring out the heavy guns.

When it comes to relief from constipation science isn’t short of some of amazing names.

These names include, microbiome restorative therapy, faecal transplant and transfaunation.

Such procedures are used on both humans, farm animals and is even being used to help save endangered species.

Whatever you want to call it, its not a topic to be discussed at the table.

Vegetable Diet

Pertinax, is effectively retired and lives seperately from the Zoo’s three boisterous youngsters, Kiondo, Kivu and N’Dowe.

Zoo keeper Gemma said:

He’s always had a problem with constipation. He eats the same diet as the others and lives in the same environment, but they poo normally and he doesn’t.

Zoo research officer, Dr Holly Farmer explained the aim of the faecal transplant:

Sharing a healthy animal’s gut flora through a faecal transplant can improve physical health and an animal’s temperament. We hope that micro-organisms from the stomach of a healthy gorilla will help sort out Pertinax’s issues.

Essentially the technique involves transferring a range of micro-organisms including bacteria, protozoa, fungi and archaea from the rumen (first stomach) of a healthy animal to that of a sick one.

Meanwhile, scientists are looking at how facecal transplants might help save the koala from extinction by changing its bacterial floral and extending the range of foods different groups are able to digest.

Poo from all three of the other gorillas, Kiondo, Kivu and N’Dow – was used.

Zoo Keeper Ann Lunt then mixed with warm water, apple and blackcurrant squash along with honey to make this unappealing cocktail a little more bearable.

The results were astounding Pertinax drank three or four coups, he seemed to like it.

Effective Results

One dose is normally enough.

However, there are occasions where more than one dose is needed.

After a few days Pertinax is showing signs of progress and the technique appears to be working.

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