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Sierra Beats The Odds
Sierra presented with a distended, or bloated, abdomen on a Friday night at feeding time. Even though she was still eating and her behavior was relatively normal, we began conversing with our veterinarian about possible causes.  You know what they say - better safe than sorry.  Big cats are very stoic so they often don't behave as if something is wrong until they are very, very ill.     A distended abdomen could be anything from tumors to infection so we wanted to proceed with an aggressive treatment plan.   

The next day we began work to load Sierra into a transport and move her to our veterinary clinic for an exam. Sierra was scheduled to be spayed this spring anyway so even if nothing or something minor was wrong we could move forward with that procedure - just a little earlier than planned. Lucky for us the moment we opened the roll cage door Sierra walked right in. It was to her benefit to load herself without anesthesia, because it would decrease the length of time she would be asleep. 

When we arrived at the clinic we darted her and prepped her for surgery. It didn't take long to discover that Sierra had a uterine infection, known as pyometra, and performing an emergency spay was her only chance at recovering. The procedure was lengthy and complicated, because removing an enlarged uterus is difficult and tedious work. Five hours later we were finally ready to reverse the anesthesia and take Sierra home. Due to Sierra's old age and the tough recovery ahead, her prognosis for survival was guarded at best.  

Once we returned to the sanctuary, the hard work of recovery began. Sierra had a 14" incision on her abdomen and was prescribed 41 pills per day that would be administered around the clock. One of our staff members would be with her 24 hours per day for the first 5 days of her recovery monitoring and recording her progress. (We're so lucky to have an amazing team of flexible, dedicated staff and vets that will put their life on hold to provide the best possible care for our animals.)  

The first day of recovery Sierra was not ready to eat, which meant we could not administer her antibiotics orally. As a result, we had to dart her in order to ensure she got the necessary medication. But by day two Sierra was eating and chuffing once again. Whew, what a relief! Every day thereafter Sierra continued to improve, and soon she will be ready to move out of our special care barn and back to the sanctuary life she knows and loves! 

Thank you so much for making life-saving treatment like this possible! It's only through your support that we can continue to rescue animals and ensure their every need is meet for the rest of their lives!
Blackie Update
Blackie has been on a trial course of gabapentin (a nerve pain medication sometimes used for hair pulling in domestic cats) in an effort to break his bad habitat of pulling out his fur. Unfortunately we didn't see an improvement with this drug so we've now started him on a trial of an anti-anxiety medication. We have also scheduled an exam with our veterinarian to eliminate the possibility of any underlying medical cause. Blackie continues to get extra enrichment to help stimulate healthy behaviors. 

If you're not familiar with Blackie's history, he has been pulling out his hair since long before we rescued him from a magic show in 2014. We suspect that the stress from severely inadequate living conditions at the magic show could have initiated the negative behavior. When he first arrived he showed great improvement and quit pulling out his hair for several months. Now, he unpredictably reverts to the behavior resulting in our focus on finding a possible solution. There is a chance that this is a poor coping mechanism that will scar Blackie for the rest of his life, but we want to exhaust all treatment options available. 
Spring Break Extended Hours!
Join us for a big cat tour to celebrate spring break with the family! National Tiger Sanctuary will be open March 8-13th and 15-20th for tours at 10 am, 12 pm, 2 pm, and 4 pm. Book early for Behind the Scenes Tours and Day with the Director Tours as availability is limited! 
Tigers by Twilight
Our first Tigers By Twilight of 2017 will take place on Saturday, March 18, 2017 at 8:00 pm! This guided tour will give you a look into the evening activities of our tigers, lions, leopards, and pumas as they stalk by the light of the moon! Listen closely for the caroling of lions and grunting of leopards!  Please call 417-587-3633 ex. 0 to reserve your spot as space is limited. 
Adults $40  -  Seniors (55+) $35  -  Children (3-12) $20
Cat of the Month - Kory
Kory was rescued by National Tiger Sanctuary at just under one year of age. He was born at a roadside zoo in Illinois that later discarded him when he was too big for cub handling. He's fortunate to have a long life ahead of him here at the sanctuary!  You can contribute to Kory'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.