Bloat and Enterotoxemia in Large Felids
American Association of Zoo Veterinarians Conference 2015
Kadie Anderson1, DVM; Michael Garner2, DVM, DACVP; Scott Reid3, DVM; Jill Hobbs4, DVM; Kurt Volle5, DVM; Karen Wolf6, MS, DVM, DACZM
1Cleveland Metroparks Zoo, Cleveland, OH, USA; 2Northwest ZooPath, Monroe, WA, USA; 3Main Street Animal Hospital, Cambridge, ON, Canada; 4Hawkins Pet and Exotic Animal Clinic, Beulah, TX, USA; 5Buffalo Zoo, Buffalo, NY, USA; 6Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium, Tacoma, WA, USA
Bloat and gastric dilatation and volvulus have not been previously reported in large felids. The clinical management of bloat and enterotoxemia in a female juvenile Sumatran tiger (Panthera tigris sumatrae) and a male juvenile Malayan tiger (Panthera tigris jacksoni) is presented. Both animals developed acute gastric bloat at 6 months of age and were successfully managed with surgical intervention and aggressive postoperative care following life-threatening complications. The Sumatran tiger developed bloat again at 12 months and died shortly after surgical decompression. The Malayan tiger has not had additional gastrointestinal problems in the 2 years following his recovery. Clostridium perfringens type A was cultured from fecal or gastric material from both animals, and enterotoxemia was hypothesized as a cause of the postoperative complications. A retrospective study was undertaken to determine if gastric bloat and enterotoxemia were health concerns for large felids. Two additional tiger cases were identified: an adult male Amur tiger (Panthera tigris altaica), which died from gastric bloat and rupture, and an adult male Sumatran tiger which died from gastric bloat and volvulus. Three African lions (Panthera leo) are also included, two of which presented for acute hemoptysis; one died of a gastric rupture (11-year-old male), and the second was euthanized with surgical findings of gastric necrosis (11-month-old female). The third lion (5-year-old male) presented with a 48-hour history of recurrent vomiting and died during a gastrotomy procedure to remove a trichobezoar. Histopathology was consistent with probable recent intestinal volvulus and sepsis. Clostridium perfringens type A was cultured from the Amur tiger, while culture results were unavailable for the remainder. Improper meat handling practices were postulated to contribute to some cases.
The authors thank Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium, Buffalo Zoo, Indianapolis Zoo, Tiger Creek Wildlife Sanctuary, and San Francisco Zoo for contributing cases to this report.