CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — Metro Richmond Zoo performed leg surgery on its 9-year-old cheetah, Bo, earlier this month. Zookeepers noticed the cheetah’s rear left leg was injured and x-rays showed a fractured heel bone from an unknown injury.

Dr. Amy Gifford-Gara, a veterinary surgeon at BluePearl in Richmond, performed the surgery on Feb. 2. Vet tech Amy Hatcher and surgery assistant Tori Lane helped Gifford-Gara with the procedure. Zoo veterinarians Dr. Cheryl Antonucci, Dr. Kiley Cameron and Emma Enea prepared Bo for surgery. 

Gifford-Gara screwed two metal plates into the cheetah’s leg and stitched the wound. The plates will hold the bone in place and help the fracture heal quickly. The vets gave Bo another x-ray to ensure that the surgery was successful.

After surgery, Bo was moved back into the zoo’s Cheetah Conservation Center, where he lives with his “cheetah companion,” Bear. 

  • Bo, a 9-year-old male cheetah lives at Metro Richmond Zoo's Cheetah Conservation Center.
  • A sedated cheetah receives leg surgery on Feb. 2, 2023.
  • Staff prepare Bo for leg surgery, which will help him recover from a fractured heel.
  • Veterinary staff prepare Bo the Cheetah for leg surgery.
  • Veterinary staff surround Bo the Cheetah and prepare him for leg surgery.
  • Veterinary staff pose over Bo the Cheetah, who received a successful leg surgery on Feb. 2, 2023.
  • The six veterinary experts who worked on Bo's leg surgery pose for a photo.

According to veterinary professionals, Bo’s procedure went well and he is recovering. Metro Richmond Zoo officials said they are grateful for Dr. Gifford Gara and the medical professionals who assisted with Bo’s surgery.