Dr. Hunter’s Blog 3/5/19

Dr. Lamar Hunter has just joined the Carolina Tiger Rescue team as a wildlife veterinarian. After he graduated from NC State’s vet school, Dr. Hunter studied under Dr. Angela Lassiter at Carolina Tiger Rescue. He helps with physicals, medical procedures, and loves seeing the animals improve under the care of the awesome vets at the rescue. Dr. Hunter enjoys working with all the animals at Carolina Tiger Rescue, but his favorite is the lions.

It has been a busy week here at Carolina Tiger Rescue. I heard from Keeper Stripes that we safely moved Fenimore back out to his enclosure yesterday. Today, we turn our attention to Tio Tiger. Tio has been limping off his front right paw for a bit now. The keepers have been able to get a good look at the bottom of his foot and we have put him on some pain medication but it hasn’t seemed to help. The keepers have seen what seems to be a sore on the middle toe of his right front paw. When we sedated him, we were able to get a good look and what we were afraid of was confirmed. Tio had been declawed long before he got to us and, because of the bad declaw, the bone of his toe was coming up through the pad. Once it reaches this point, there is very little that can be done except to amputate the toe.

Amputation requires sterile equipment and, because we had an idea that this is what we were going to have to do, we moved Tio into quarantine. Once we were able to get a good look at the toe, Dr. Lassiter and I confirmed the toe had to be removed for Tio to have a better quality of life. Once the toe was removed, we sewed the wound back up, gave him some medication to help with the pain and swelling, and woke him back up. Though Tio is a very laid back tiger, we weren’t sure how he would react waking up in a new environment with a swollen foot that was missing a toe. We were astonished that he gave us his signature chuffles as he woke up! Tio will spend about a week in quarantine to give the toe time to heal and for us to keep a close eye on him, but we predict he is going to do just fine! Tio is a great lesson on how detrimental declawing a wild cat can be. Tio has lived with the pain of his declaw for years and now it has cost him a toe. These cats are meant to have their claws and removing them comes at a great cost.