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Big Cat Seeks Treatment at Veterinary Teaching Hospital
An injured cat recently was brought to the James L. Voss Veterinary Teaching Hospital for treatment. Typically, this is not news, except the cat in this case was a 500-pound African lion.
Shane, a 5-year-old male lion, was brought to the VTH on March 29 for what appeared to be injuries to his right leg and paw. The lion was transported to the hospital by Pat Craig, Executive Director of the Rocky Mountain Wildlife Conservation Center, an organization based in Keenesburg, Colo., that rescues captive animals from commercial exploitation, sub-standard living conditions and unregulated breeding.
Shane, along with other animals, had been rescued some years ago from a facility in Colton, Calif., where authorities found 150 live big cats in need of care. Other animals, including 58 tiger cubs and 30 adult tigers, had died from mistreatment on the owner's property.
The day after Shane’s initial visit, Dr. David Lee, Director of the Veterinary Teaching Hospital, said that Shane checked out very well, with no major problems in his bones or joints, although the lion may have chronic fibrosis of the muscle fibers, a condition that comes with disuse.
“The reason people are usually referred to physical therapists after an injury is to prevent contracture and to maintain normal range of motion,” Dr. Lee said. “Fortunately, this is something that occurs in horses as well, and our equine orthopedic surgeons have the ability to approach the area surgically and break down some of those scarred fibers so range of motion can be improved. We are hoping to return Shane's gait to something much more normal.”
The lion is scheduled to return to the Veterinary Teaching Hospital in mid-May to undergo additional testing and perhaps surgery to help restore his gait. Veterinarians who helped care for Shane in March included Dr. Terry Campbell, zoo veterinarian; Dr. Ross Palmer, veterinary orthopaedic surgeon, Dr. Lisa Klopp, veterinary neurologist, and Dr. Bonnie Wright, veterinary anesthesiologist.