Aria was privately owned by a family in South Carolina who kept her in their backyard. When she was about 10 years old, she became very ill and, although she was eating, she began to lose weight very rapidly. The neighbors who lived next to Aria and her family became very concerned and notified animal control. When animal control arrived and talked with the family, they realized Aria was in desperate need of help. The family informed animal control that there was not a vet in the state of South Carolina willing to look at her. Animal control then notified Carolina Tiger Rescue and we went down and picked her up. We brought Aria back to North Carolina for a full veterinary checkup and discovered that she had an Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency (EPI) and Irritable Bowel Disease (IBD). Without intervention, Aria would not have survived. She had gotten down to under 200 pounds, which was about half of what she should have weighed. Aria was fed raw beef pancreas with her meals. The addition of pancreas allowed her to fully digest her meals and absorb the proper nutrients from her food. She was also given medication to treat her IBD. At first, the family was unwilling to sign her over to us, but, after a couple of months, Aria’s family came to visit her. Seeing how happy and healthy she had become and the large enclosure she had to live in, they decided to signed her over to Carolina Tiger Rescue for good.
November 15th, 2016
Several weeks ago, Aria Tiger began showing signs of having a neurological issue. One of the first symptoms we saw was Aria star-gazing. Star-gazing can happen for multiple reasons, including high blood pressure and seizures. We immediately started her on anti-seizure medication and, shortly thereafter, we anesthetized her and ran blood work and checked her blood pressure. Her blood work came back looking pretty good (given her known health issues), but her blood pressure was running high. We then started her on a medication to treat her hypertension and began to wean her off anti-seizure medication. Unfortunately, that did not resolve the issues. We started her again on anti-seizure medication but feared that she would begin to have additional seizures that would occur more often. This morning, our fears were realized. On rounds, Senior Keeper, Lauren, was unable to get a reaction from Aria, who was in her den box. After trying for some time, Aria made her way out of her den box. Moments later, she had multiple seizures. Dr. Lassiter came out to evaluate her situation and Aria again had multiple seizures. The decision was made to euthanize due to Aria’s already fragile system and the lack of seizure control with medication. Her necropsy showed diffuse small bowel disease (which we were already aware of) and a lymph node appeared abnormal. Unfortunately, we were not able to find definitive answers to the cause of the neurological changes, but, given the nature of her symptoms, this was not unexpected.
Aria’s passing will be felt by many. Many of us at Carolina Tiger spent Aria’s first few weeks here waiting, watching, and hoping that Aria had enough fight to pull through. We celebrated every meal she ate and every pound she gained. We were astonished as we watched her coat change from fluffy to healthy in just a matter of weeks. Once she was out of quarantine, she began to work her wiles on the rest of the Carolina Tiger Rescue family. Her personality and charm easily won over anyone who met her. Her calm, laid-back personality was sprinkled with moments of mischief as she sprinted down the hill to surprise you with a chuffle. Aria was a rare mix of maturity and playfulness. Her death will leave a very large hole in the sanctuary.