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Spring Spay Marathon!
It may sound silly, but we have been hard at work on our goal to spay all of our female big cat residents! Since our last update, we have successfully performed an exam and spayed Niara, Etana, Stripey, and Midnight. Niara and Etana were both scheduled for routine exams and spays the first week of April. In addition to surgery, Niara was also seen by a dentist to have a root canal on her top right canine. B oth procedures went smoothly and both girls have fully recovered from the procedures.  

Stripey was bumped to the top of our list to get spayed when we decided to anesthetize her for an exam. After two consecutive days of decreased appetite, we decided to schedule Stripey for a check-up and diagnostics with our veterinarian as a precaution.  The slew of tests we completed during the exam were unremarkable in explaining Stripey's lack of appetite, so we administered additional antibiotics to cover all bases. Some incidental findings during Stripey's exam were cataracts in both eyes and the horribly mutilating declaw she was subjected to as a cub. Unfortunately, instead of removing Stripey's last digit at the knuckle, the bone was cut in half. Luckily, Stripey doesn't exhibit signs of discomfort in her feet, but we still give glucosamine chondroitin daily and pain medication as needed. We have also started Stripey on a kidney support supplement, known as Azodyl, because her blood work revealed slightly elevated kidney values. During the exam our veterinarians deemed her healthy enough to also undergo the spay at the same time. Being able to complete the spay during this exam eliminated the need for Stripey to undergo anesthesia a second time. 

Similar to Stripey, Midnight was also able to be spayed during an exam after she started showing signs of inappetence. Midnight just didn't seem to feel like herself one Sunday morning, and her appetite had been a bit more unpredictable than normal. Midnight blood work? High white blood cell count? 
Further testing revealed that Midnight had cystic endometrial hyperplasia (CEH), which is characterized by the thickening of the uterine lining. CEH is dangerous, because it is often linked to pyometra (uterine infection) and cancer. By spaying Midnight, we have prevented any further complications of CEH. Midnight has fully recovered from her procedure and returned to her regular habitat.

All of these back to back surgical procedures have kept our team busy over the previous weeks! After each surgery we rotate staff members to stay with the patient 24/7 to ensure they recover from anesthesia and don't interfere with the healing of their incision. We also administer antibiotics, anti-inflammatories, and pain medications around the clock - up to 50 pills per day! Cats in recovery are kept in our special care barn where they can rest undisturbed by our daily operations. This enables us to limit their activity and monitor them closely while they heal. Once they have returned to normal, we transfer them back home to their normal habitat.

Our veterinary care expenses have increased nearly 400% in the first quarter of 2017 compared to last year. Will you help us continue to provide the best for our animals by making a donation? You can give in honor of your favorite animal here. We are grateful for the support of individuals like you that makes our mission to rescue and care for our animals a reality!
Saying Goodbye
It is with heavy hearts that we once again are bearers of bad news. Our beloved Nikki passed away on April 20, 2017. She was celebrated as our oldest cat after having turned 20 in October of 2016.  Over the last few years her heath began to decline when she started having seizures. Within the last two years they had become more frequent. After showing some concerning symptoms, our vets came out and anesthetized her to take blood and try to diagnose what could be causing our Nikki problems.

She had pain in her abdomen, even while sedated, and we decided it was best to let her go. Nikki had beaten the average life span for tigers in captivity. She was surrounded by everyone that had loved and cared for her when she was humanely euthanized. She had been suffering from a deflated lung, abnormalities on her kidneys, and pancreatic cancer.

Nikki came to the sanctuary in 2011 along with her daughter Madison from a zoo in Florida. She had a happy, full life at NTS, surrounded by keepers and visitors that adored her. She is survived by Madison who has adjusted to living by herself.

We will miss Nikki, but her memory will live on.
Cat of the Month - Blackie
July's Cat of the Month is our box loving Blackie! Blackie was rescued in 2014 after spending almost 12 years in a Branson magic show. After performing in the show for so long, Blackie can now enjoy a stress-free life at National Tiger Sanctuary. He enjoys destroying cardboard boxes and you can often find him playing with the remains while on tour!  You can contribute to Blackie's care by adopting him  online  or over the phone. As a thank you, we will send you a t-shirt, photo, window decal, and certificate of adoption.