Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Rama, One of World's Rarest Tigers, Dies at 16

One of the world’s rarest tigers -- who was born in captivity and had numerous health problems -- has died at the Surabaya Zoo in Indonesia. WaPo reports that the facility has famously housed thousands of exotic birds, reptiles and large animals from around the globe before acquiring the disturbing nickname "death zoo" in recent years after hundreds of animal deaths turned the formerly prosperous destination into an internationally despised institution. 

Is it any wonder I'm late to work every day?

The sight of Rama got me thinking about Larry, who so many of you have been kind enough to contact me about in private. The latest is still somewhat hazy. For those who don't recall he was diagnosed with chylothorax, a condition that causes an accumulation of fluid (chyle) within the thoracic cavity around the lungs. The fluid -- which can be viscous and full of triglycerides -- can stop flowing for a variety of reasons, but so far they do not know why his has. (This is what is called idiopathic.) As it would happen, his is only on one side, which the vets we've been in touch with have never seen. The fluid was drained a week ago -- for the second time -- and the hope is it's flowing better now that he's on a low-fat diet and rutin, a homeopathic remedy that has shown success in some cases. (This thins out the fluid, which is why they were able to get about 115 cc vs. just 15 cc the first time.) We are nearly positive the inhaler -- from when they believed his wheezing was caused by asthma -- was making things way worse, triggering the fits that made us think he was on the brink of death. This might mean the chylothorax is the only issue he's dealing with, not it AND a separate respiratory ailment as originally thought, although his symptoms remain more consistent with asthma than just chylothorax.

Larry waves hello!

For now, we just have to hope the diet works as the next steps -- tests (to see if there's a tumor blocking the flow) and surgery (to either remove the tumor or redirect the fluid) -- are pretty cost prohibitive ($5,000 for the tests alone, and they won't even say how much the surgery is), especially given the high level of risk and fairly low level of success they've seen in cats versus dogs. All the little guy wants to do is eat, sleep, hang out in the sink, knock anything that catches his eye off flat surfaces and cuddle. Poor thing tries to push through the coughing fits, sometimes refusing to sit up while lying in bed. It would be heartbreaking if it weren't so adorable. He has his good days and his bad, but we are still holding out hope this is a condition that is manageable enough that it's a liability, but not a death sentence.


Gary said...

Poor baby. Hope he will bounce back. He sure is lucky to have you!

edmcan said...

Thanks for the update Kenneth, I was wondering. I do hope that it works out for both of you; Larry is such a cool cat. Give him a cuddle for me, please.

Shy Boy said...

Stay strong.

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