Jumanji Leopard and Bongo Serval Surgeries
It’s Valentine’s Day and my heart is restless with worry. Tomorrow Jumanji, a 20 year old black leopard and Bongo, a nearly 25 year old serval, will have to be sedated for treatment. Since a lot of our cats are over the age of 20, and these species usually don’t live past 10-12 elsewhere, there is always this low level tension tugging at our hearts. We are always watchful for any sign that one of our precious cats is on the decline.
Nature demands survival of the fittest, so cats don’t show their illness, unless they are so sick they just can’t hide it any more. In the wild they would become prey if they didn’t maintain the facade of being the biggest, baddest element in the brush. Even in captivity, they are stoic in their pain and masters of illusion. It usually is something they can’t hide that first gives them away.
Jumanji has had a growth on his face for a while that has concerned us, but sedation is such a dangerous thing for exotic cats, that we have just watched it closely for changes and figured we will get a biopsy of it, or remove it, if he ever had anything else going on that would call for sedation.
Yesterday, (Feb. 13) he left a broken tooth on his feeding platter. My first thought was that he was expecting the tooth fairy, but realized that he must have broken it off while chewing on a bone. He’s always had great teeth, so this was un expected and worrisome enough, considering the exposed root, that we decided to sedate him Monday, Feb. 15.
No sooner had we made arrangements with the vet, Dr. Justin Boorstein, who is seeing his dentist that same morning, that a radio call came in that Bongo had a swelling on his face, and didn’t want to eat. In more than 20 years of caring for Bongo Serval, I don’t remember anyone ever reporting that he didn’t want to eat.
Jamie Veronica went to take a look at him, and all indications are that he’s got a bad tooth too. “Dr Boorstein; could you make that two patients for dental work, Monday?”
I kid you not, it wasn’t 15 minutes later before there was a radio call saying that Zouletta Serval was doing that weird-serval-neck-arching-thing. We are baffled at this odd phenomenon that only affects servals and seems to be related to a change in the weather. When it’s cold outside one day and then really nice the next day, the arching seems to happen on the nice day. We’ve discussed the condition with experts in serval care across the country and have tried just about everything imaginable, but can’t tell that anything, other than continued warm weather, fixes it.
“Dr Boorstein; could you make that three patients for Monday?”
If you picture those horses that are trained to step high and arch their necks, that is what it looks like. There are variations on it where the cat’s forehead seems to be glued to the ground. Those cases get brought inside immediately. The cats are usually very wobbly in their gait and will fall over. It doesn’t usually affect their appetite though.
We were trying to decide if Zouletta should go into the West Boensch Cat Hospital for a few days, but by the afternoon she was feeling a lot better and thankfully, today, shows no sign of affliction. I’m crossing my fingers that it stays that way for her. Thor Bobcat really doesn’t want neighbors in the hospital and two cats in surgery are about all I can stand.
I don’t know what time Jumanji and Bongo will be coming into surgery, but you can watch it LIVE at http://explore.org/live-cams/player/big-cat-rescue-windsong-memorial-cat-hospital There is a discussion board at the bottom of that page where we can do Q and A with you, but the microphones are great, so you will be able to hear the vets and they often will speak directly to the camera to keep you informed.
As always, your gifts are tax deductible and much appreciated.
Big cats gotta eat!