Dr. Chloe Wilde is our wildlife biologist. She studied ecology at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill. Her favorite topic of study is conservation. Dr. Wilde is passionate about learning about and teaching others about how they can help wild cat populations, including reducing their use of products with palm oil in them. Though Carolina Tiger Rescue does not have any, Dr. Wilde’s favorite animal to study is the clouded leopard.

Dr. Wilde’s Blog 12/13/19

Each of the seven new servals needs to have a physical done by our vet before they can leave quarantine. One problem we will look for during their physicals is metabolic bone disease, or MBD.

Does your family ever tell you to eat your fruits and veggies? That’s because those foods are full of nutrients that keep us strong and healthy. Wild cats are no different! They need plenty of raw meat, including bones, to grow strong. This is especially important when they are young. Wild cats grow quickly and are usually full-grown by the time they are three years old. Can you imagine? Cubs or kittens who don’t get all the nutrients they need often have problems with their bones, like MBD. Metabolic bone disease can show itself as a limp, bowed legs, or breaks and fractures. In this photo, you can see some symptoms of MBD and X-rays of a healthy leg compared to a leg that’s curved from MBD.

To see if animals have metabolic bone disease, we can take X-rays of their bodies. So far, we have taken X-rays of five of the new servals. Here I am examining Queen Serval’s X-rays. Sadly, she had a few old fractures in three of her bones. One was in her sternum (her chest), one in her leg, and another in her tail. They were probably in part due to metabolic bone disease. Servals can get MBD more quickly and easily than other cats of similar size, like caracals, because the outer layer of their bones is thinner when compared to other species of wild cats. MBD makes their bones weaker, causing them to break more easily when they’re jumping around and playing. While it was sad to see, it was not surprising that a couple of our new residents had overcome fractures in their early lives.

If any animals do have MBD, we can treat it according to how it affects them. I was happy to see how well-healed Queen’s fractures are. Here you can see the one in her leg. Her previous fractures don’t seem to cause her any trouble so we don’t need to treat them. The new servals will get weekly vitamins and be fed a whole carcass diet, like the rest of the animals here at Carolina Tiger Rescue. It is the healthiest option for them and allows them to be as strong as possible. The health of Carolina Tiger Rescue’s residents is very important to us!