It has been a REALLY long time since I have written. For that my friends I apologize. This year has been a rough year. Starting in January, at a big cat continuing education seminar, we had the main facility truck stolen. While it was recovered a week later, it spent three weeks in the shop. This in turn caused the co founder to not be able to leave and finish contracts.. thus we lost them. The loss that was suffered was well over $60,000.00. But that was just the beginnning.
I get back only to find that our tiger, Spike, has been not really eating. The vet was called and nothing was really found. We had the healthiest sick tiger the vet had ever seen. From there, things went from bad to worse. He crashed and we had to take him to the specialist in Ocala. Full diagnostics were ran inclusive of radiographs, barium series, fecal exams, CBC, Chemistry profiles, urinalysis, ultrasound and finally exploratory surgery. With nothing out of the normal. Although he was sick and not eating, after the surgery he seemed to recover and began eating again.
Then in February, Bobby, our rehomed Bobcat hailing all the way from Arkansas, had an ear infection that needed to be taken care of, so he was taken to the vet where he was sedated and treated.
March brought the tragic loss of Katara. Also a rehomed bobcat. She arrived with her sister Abira from Gatorland. Gatorland had rescued them from a closed facility in mid central Florida that had closed. They had isolated and recovered them until they were able to deliver them to us here at the Jungle.
All was going well until that fateful morning that I walked out and found Katara dead in the enclosure. I was devastated. We had never had a cat pass here at the jungle. I took her straight to the vets for a necropsy. The necropsy revealed she passed due to liver disease.
In August we noted that Shrek seemed to be acting “odd” .. so he was closely monitored. He then began to show signs of neurological deficits. He was rushed to the vet. All blood work and fecal exams were normal EXCEPT there was an elevation in the eosinophils. That can be indicitive of a parasitic infestation. Although the fecals were negative, sometimes either no eggs were captured in that particular sample or it could be that it is a parasite that is notorious for not having the eggs show up in a fecal exam..
Parasites can deplete the B vitamins in not only humans but animals. This effects the CNS and would account for the ataxia, seizures, odd posturing etc. So he was placed on B complex extensively as well as prophylactic de wormings.
Then lo and behold, in June, Spike crashed again. This time he was rushed in critical condition straight to Ocala. Emergency stabilization was administered as well as more diagnostics. Skull and dental radiographs were done, fecal exams, blood cultures, CBC, Chemistry panels, H pylori testing, and finally an endoscopy. Again.. nothing was found amiss. Yet we had a cat that was dying.
In November, we noticed that Fred, our 31 year old Java Macaque was acting lethargic and had some weight loss. Again off to the vet we go.. only to find out he had cancer. We euthanized him without waking him up from the anesthesia for the exam.
Going through all of this, we have learned to appreciate the little things. Spike is now eating well and playing. He is still on Prilosec, and it works great. Shrek has absolved all neurological symptoms and is back to his old “I am sweet, wait, NO I am an OGRE” attitude.. and it seems we have gotten our Christmans gifts early this year.
But this has put a hard drain on Mystic Jungles fundings. With all the emergency vet visits it drained us financially to the tune of well over $12,000.00 on Spike alone! And with all the intensive care that Spike and Shrek needed… it drained us emotionally. But we are still here. And if it is in the grand scheme of the Maker’s then we will continue on.. but we need your help now more than ever. Even five dollars will help as it all adds up! And we are a 501(c)3 with all donations being tax deductible. Please consider a donation today!