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“Possible Foreign Body In African Leopard Digestive Tract”

Story By: Jason Abels – Assistant Director www.tigerhomes.org Animal Sanctuary

Jason with Midnight the African Black Leopard
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Like kids, Big Cats will put just about anything into their mouths, even swallowing them. Yesterday, David noticed that Midnight, our resident Black Leopard (Panthera pardus) at the Animal Sanctuary, jumped up and cracked the plastic dome housing of one of her habitat lights. As most of you are aware from watching the Sanctuary’s Exotic Animal Cams, particularly the Leopard Cam, our African Leopards are extremely acrobatic. These animals are spectacular jumpers capable of extraordinary vertical and horizontal jumps. CLICK HERE TO SEE ANIMAL WEBCAMS

In this case, Midnight jumped 12 + feet straight up in the air and smacked one of her light fixtures. Fortunately, David was right there as it happened and immediately entered the Leopard Habitat to clean up the mess. Just imagine having to clean a mess in your kitchen while a fired up “Locked And Loaded” adolescent leopard was confined with you! Talk about domestic clean-up skills! Well, David should get a trophy for his skills and did a great job removing all of the fallen light fixture material from Midnight’s habitat while she stalked and pounced all around him. Unfortunately, it only takes a micro second to take your eye off of things and in that split second Midnight pulled in a extra cloth bag, that David was going to fill with broken dome parts if needed, which was stored just inches outside her habitat. Before David could react he realized that Midnight had indeed ingested a small part of the bag.

Dave & Jason with Midnight

David and I have been working with Exotic Animals for a good portion of our lives and know and understand the possible dangers when they ingest foreign objects. Among the most dangerous of these types of ingestible objects are items containing long fibers. In addition to causing Intestinal Blockages, long fibers often get caught and dragged through the loops of intestines causing “Long Linear Lacerations” on the cat’s intestinal wall. If Veterinary Intervention is not sought ASAP, these blockages and lacerations can easily kill! In some cases large sections of intestines have to be removed leaving the animal with a diminished Digestive Tract.

We were fortunate that David was right there to observe things as they happened. We took Midnight to see Dr. Marc Kramer, the Animal Sanctuary’s primary Exotic Animal Vet first thing the following morning. Dr. Kramer drew up the proper dose of tranquilizer and I administered the shot while David and I played with her in a small isolated room at the Animal Clinic. Once sedated, the Endangered Leopard was x-rayed, pumped up with SubQ fluids and given a Cat Enema. Now how many of you have ever given an enema to a Black Leopard? Better yet, how many of you have ever cleaned up the mess afterwards? J

Dr. Kramer & Midnight
Dr. Marc Kramer examining Midnight

After reviewing Midnight’s x-rays, we realized we were very fortunate as it appeared that Midnight did not seem to ingest too much of the fibrous bag. Whewwwww!!! This does not mean that we are out of the woods, but we all decided to give her fluids, a special diet and a Rectal Enema specifically created for felines and basically keep her under close observations. If we notice her throwing up, losing her appetite or any other “Abnormal Behavioral Changes”, we will reevaluate things.

On a good note, about 15 minutes after we administered the reversal to the sedative and about 20 minutes after the enema, Midnight had a sweet poop that showed evidence of passing some of the fibers from the bag! We will keep our fingers crossed that she continues to pass the remaining pieces on her own without the need for surgery or additional Vet Intervention. To keep in the loop and up-to-date on Midnight’s progress, feel free to read about her in the Animal Forum.

David and I both hope you enjoyed learning about what takes place “Behind The Scenes” at the www.tigerhomes.org Animal Sanctuary. We strive to educate and to create awareness on the importance of Wildlife and Habitat Protection. We hope that each of you takes the time to get to know each of the Sanctuary’s Tigers, African Lions, amazing Spotted Leopards, Mountain Lions, and our super endearing and highly Endangered Madagascar Lemurs, all on multiple State-Of-The-Art habitat Web Cams.

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