PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Veterinarians at the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium gave a little extra attention to one of its prized tiger cubs Thursday morning.
The nearly 8-month-old cub received a health check-up.
“Our wonderful vet team was successful in bringing this animal back,” said the zoo’s Dr. Barbara Baker. “It was really a miracle. This cat was so ill that we really didn’t think she was going to make it.”
The cubs were born last fall, but at six weeks, the female cub developed a systemic bacterial infection from an abscess at the base of her skull. It affected her ability to move and ultimately nurse.
“Any time we have her down for a routine immobilization, we will repeat her neck radiographs just to make sure again that there is no evidence of infection or fusion of the neck bones that we need to be concerned about later on down the road,” said the zoo’s Dr. Ginger Takle.
This check-up would normally be done when the cub is a one-year-old, but because of her history, the procedure was done early.
They check her blood, her enormous paws and still-developing teeth. But the big concern was the infection that literally was eating away at a vertebrae in the cubs’ neck.
You would never know it now, but the cub spent six weeks in the zoo hospital facility.
She has been reintroduced to her sister, brother and mom, and the little cub weighs nearly 80 pounds. The best news of the day though is the films that show what they hoped to see.
“You can see she is a lot bigger now, but this area corresponds with this area and you can see the bones are nice and flat down here based on these radiographs,” said Dr. Takle. “I don’t see any signs of infection which is great news for this cub and the whole tiger family down there.”