Challenging skin condition of female gorilla results in unique treatment programme

In 2012, Twycross Zoo was faced with a challenging medical case with Biddy, a 40 year old female Western lowland gorilla. Biddy had been living with a chronic pruritic skin condition which in turn, caused uncomfortable inflammation and thickening.

The zoo’s veterinary team had been carrying out extensive research into Biddy’s condition, including the taking of biopsies, skin scrapes and culture samples under anaesthetic – all with the hope that her condition could be managed and Biddy could be made more comfortable.  Her diet, husbandry, environment and current medications were all thoroughly reviewed by the team. In addition, Biddy was also trialled on a selection of skin supplements, such as Evening Primrose oil. This however had not appeared to help her condition. A member of the Twycross veterinary team had seen good results with the skin supplement YUMEGA Plus in dogs whilst working in small animal practice, so the team contacted Lintbells, a company more used to delivering solutions to the health needs of companion animals than gorillas, to see if YUMEGA Plus could help Biddy.

Dr John Howie from Lintbells commented, “We began by researching fatty acid intake in the diets of wild gorillas and identified that their normal diet was very high in ALA (alpha-Linolenic acid), which acts as a moisture barrier to reduce dry skin. We visited the zoo in July 2012 to see Biddy & talk to the vets about her current treatment regime & diet. We concluded that using a supplement called YUMEGA Plus, which was originally developed for use in dogs, could be beneficial to Biddy, so she was started on a course of 30ml per day.”

YUMEGA Plus is a blend of natural ingredients including the finest Omega 3 & 6 oils from cold-pressed Golden Flax, Starflower and fresh Salmon oil, and contains over four times more EFAs than traditional EFA supplements. All of these ingredients are carefully selected to help treat dogs with sensitive and itchy skin. To further support Biddy’s recovery, Lintbells provided a unique support formula including biotin, phospholipids and zinc that has proven successful in difficult canine skin cases. The supplement was given to Biddy orally as part of an overall management regime, and has helped to improve her condition, which has been an issue for over 20 years.

Sarah Chapman, Head of Veterinary Services as Twycross Zoo, says “Biddy has been a challenging case for us at Twycross Zoo.  Many dog owners will have experience with chronic skin problems and understand how difficult they can be to resolve.  As part of our management of Biddy’s skin condition, we have worked closely with Lintbells to give her skin supplements to try and make the skin as healthy as possible.  Biddy takes the supplement very well – it can often be difficult to get our animals to take treatment so it helps that she likes the taste!  I feel the inclusion of YUMEGA Plus has definitely helped Biddy, and formed a valuable part of her treatment regime.”

For more information about YUMEGA Plus, visit or speak to your local Lintbells Business Development Manager.