Tulsa Zoo-born tiger cub now doing well after surgery
Mar 02, 2013 (Tulsa World - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
Berani, the Malayan tiger cub who was born at the Tulsa Zoo last year, has been released from the animal hospital at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium in Tacoma, Wash.
Veterinarians there say he's in "very good" condition after a critical illness, the Tulsa Zoo reported Friday evening.
Berani, born Aug. 26, was sent to the Tacoma zoo in October to be raised with Dumai, a Sumatran tiger cub who was born just four days before Berani.
Both cubs were single births. Neither was thriving, and each needed hand-rearing to ensure adequate nutrition, zoo officials said.
On Monday, Berani became lethargic, would not eat and developed a sudden high fever, Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium General Curator Karen Goodrowe Beck said.
Veterinarians took X-rays and performed an ultrasound, checking for a possible intestinal blockage, and "to be cautious, the veterinary team performed an exploratory surgery late Monday," Goodrowe Beck said.
"There was no blockage, but his gastrointestinal tract appears to be very, very irritated," Point Defiance head veterinarian Dr. Karen Wolf said Tuesday.
She believes that his sudden illness was the result of enterotoxemia, or toxins produced by bacteria that brought about an infection, she said Friday.
The 6-month-old, 74-pound tiger cub rejoined Dumai behind the scenes, off exhibit, Friday morning. The two are separated by a partition, but they greeted each other with vocal sounds.
"This is an animal who has made an astounding recovery," Wolf said. "I would expect him to be back to being super playful very soon."
Once out of the hospital, Berani immediately began exploring, nosing around the enclosure, drinking water from buckets, interacting with his keepers and curiously checking out Dumai across the partition, zoo officials said.
Veterinarians and zookeepers will continue to keep vigilant watch on Berani, monitoring him for any unusual gastrointestinal issues or signs of distress, Wolf said.
Berani will remain off exhibit for an undetermined amount of time while he continues to recover. For now, he will remain on medicine to aid the function of his gastrointestinal tract, Wolf said. He also continues to receive antibiotics, and he'll be on a bland diet for a few days but will be gradually reintroduced to his normal feeding routine.
A team of three zoo veterinarians and animal care staff members worked around the clock for four days to bring the sick cub back to health, zoo officials reported. Outside consultants also provided assistance with care.
Berani left the Tulsa Zoo at 6 weeks old in October to be hand-reared with Dumai at the Point Defiance zoo. This ensured that the cubs could be raised with a playmate and learn appropriate tiger behavior from one another.
"We are thrilled to learn of Berani's good condition and are thankful to the entire staff of Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium," said Joe Barkowski, vice president of animal conservation and science at the Tulsa Zoo. "We want to thank the community for an outpouring of support for this beloved tiger cub."
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