A Tiger with a Runny Nose Turned into a Massive Case of Canine Distemper at a Big Cat Rescue in Wylie
The trouble started innocently enough, back in early May, when Cairo the tiger had a snotty nose. Vicky Keahey, the president of In-Sync Exotics, the Wylie rescue society where Cairo and several dozen other big cats live, wrote down the nose leakage in the cat's logbook on May 5.
Image via Facebook A sick tiger named Tacoma, exercising with the help of a harness. (Tacoma isn't suffering from distemper, but has hip dysplasia and arthritis.)
"I didn't really think anything of it, because he's had a snotty nose in previous years," she said this morning. She started him on antibiotics, but didn't see any improvement in a week. So she switched antibiotics, and another week went by, and the tiger still didn't seem to be feeling any better. Then, suddenly, he had a seizure. Keahey was terrified. Cairo is the second tiger the former vet tech ever rescued, and the two are especially close.
"He's every breath that I breathe," she says, tearing up.
But soon after the seizure, Keahey realized what the problem must be. "I was like, 'Shit," she says. "What about canine distemper, because of all the friggin' raccoons that we've had around here?"