Special needs tiger arrives at U of M Veterinary Hospital

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Courtesy of The Wildcat Sanctuary.

A very special tiger made a 700-mile emergency trip to the University of Minnesota’s Veterinary Hospital on Thursday.

Daisy, a special-needs tigress, was rescued by The Wildcat Sanctuary in Sandstone, Minn. in May. The 2.5-year-old is ataxic, a neurological disorder that causes animals to lose full control of bodily movements.

On Thursday she arrived at the U of M’s Veterinary Hospital possibly in critical condition relating to her ataxia.

“Daisy’s case breaks my heart,” said Wildcat Sanctuary Executive Director Tammy Thies. “She is so young and could have a long life ahead of her. We need to determine what’s causing these issues and if we can treat her.”

According to the Wildcat Sanctuary’s website, Daisy’s ataxia gives her an uneven gate, trouble with her balance and has stunted her growth. She also has a tendency to stumble, and it takes her “a little longer than normal to do normal tiger activities.”

The 250-pound tigress returned to the University’s veterinary hospital on Thursday for the second time since her rescue. This time, she is receiving additional testing, including a spinal tap and an MRI.

According to a statement by The Wildcat Sanctuary, “Performing an MRI on an animal as large as a tiger isn’t an easy task – nor an inexpensive one! Daisy’s condition is serious and it’s in her best interest to have the expert team at the University perform these critical diagnostics. These procedures require she be fully anesthetized for 3-4 hours and be closely monitored.”

Daisy’s first trip to the University was upon her arrival to the sanctuary. She was rescued along with another tiger when someone out-of-state called needing help providing medical attention to the animals. She was in critical condition at the time.

The goal of the latest trip is to identify what is causing the ataxic symptoms in Daisy. The sanctuary then plans to develop a pain treatment plan.

Daisy is known around The Wildcat Sanctuary for her positive attitude. The staff recognizes that her life will not be easy, and hopes to focus on giving the tigress the best quality of life possible.

“She deserves a life free of pain and discomfort,” said Thies.