Phoenix Zoo Sumatran tiger diagnosed with chronic kidney disease

The Phoenix Zoo's beloved 17-year-old Sumatran tiger, Jai, was diagnosed with chronic kidney...
The Phoenix Zoo's beloved 17-year-old Sumatran tiger, Jai, was diagnosed with chronic kidney disease by zoo veterinarians.(Phoenix Zoo)
Published: Jan. 12, 2022 at 7:45 AM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -- The Phoenix Zoo’s beloved 17-year-old Sumatran tiger, Jai, has been diagnosed with chronic kidney disease by zoo veterinarians. Zookeepers noticed something was wrong with Jai when he was drinking more water than usual, eating less and losing weight.

Zoo veterinarians say the disease is common in many cat species and can form over months or years. According to a 2018 study in Australian zoos, Sumatran tigers had the highest percentage of deaths related to kidney disease, with 75%. Sumatran tiger’s life expectancy is about 18 years.

“We are continuing to monitor Jai closely and hope his appetite may increase by offering him some special items to encourage him to eat,” says Dr. Gary West, senior vice president of Animal Health and Living Collections at the Phoenix Zoo. “Unfortunately, renal disease and ultimately renal failure is common in big cats and there is no cure.”

Jai’s urinalysis showed he may have a second infection, and he is being treated for it with antibiotics. Zoo veterinarians placed Jai under anesthesia to give him fluids and medications. Jai was born at the Louisville Zoo and has been at the Phoenix Zoo since 2005.

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