Snow Leopard at Big Cat Rescue

Snow Leopard Treated for Kidney Stones

Suffering the torture of the damned, is the only way to describe the pain of kidney stones.

I know.

I am certain that anyone who has ever had one will readily agree! In fact, I have heard women say that the agony they experienced when passing a kidney stone is worse than giving birth! When I am having an attack I would trade just about anything I own to get rid of the excruciating torment.

At least I can empathize with Cloe, a snow leopard living at Big Cat Rescue in Tampa, Florida.

Following a thorough examination and x-rays, Cloe was diagnosed with both kidney stones in her left kidney and a massive kidney infection. While leopards can’t communicate in words to express their pain–and since cats tend to conceal illness as a survival strategy–this magnificent leopard was very fortunate that her condition was quickly detected by her keepers who observed that Cloe was not “acting herself,” and was not eating well.

Since lithotripsy is one of the most effective and popular methods to treat kidney stones, Big Cat Rescue gathered an elaborate team of veterinarians and technicians from around the country who volunteered their time to assist. A lithotripsy machine was graciously donated to Big Cat Rescue by a local company. Without these donations, the cost of the procedure would have been enormous.

In this surgical procedure, pulses of ultrasonic waves are delivered through the body, aimed at the kidney to pulverize dense stones in the kidney or upper urinary tract during a shock wave lithotripsy (SWL) procedure.

The pulverized stones can then pass more easily through the ureter and out of the body in the urine. Lithotripsy is used regularly for humans and is a very popular form of treatment. I have gone through several “bouts” of lithotripsy myself. However this was the first time that lithotripsy was used on a snow leopard.

Cloe’s lithotripsy procedure went extremely well. I am happy to report this lucky leopard has since made a thorough recovery and is putting on weight with her appetite back to normal.

The good news for me, is the next time my urologist suggests lithotripsy to smash my kidney stones, purrhaps I won’t be as anxious, since learning about Cloe’s successful experience.

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