Saturday, August 6, 2011

Just Another Day at In-Sync Exotics

Operating an exotic wild animal sanctuary is not your normal routine job.  Each day brings new challenges to resolve, such as what to do if a cougar develops a problem with her paw.

Last Saturday, Sassy, a 12-year old female cougar developed a slight limp in her front paw.  After observing Sassy for a few days, Vicky decided a trip to the vet was necessary to rule out any serious health issues.

Yesterday, the vet was able to determine that there was no break in the bone and no object embedded in the paw.  Instead, test results revealed that Sassy may be developing arthritis.  We’ll be keeping an eye on her to see if she will require further treatment or medication to relieve any discomfort she may feel in the future.  At this time, Sassy appears to be happy with all the fuss made over her—purring loudly whenever Vicky comes around to check on her!

Next challenging task is to weigh the former Poetry lions to determine if the girls were within a normal weigh range.  So how exactly does one weigh a lioness?

Well, first you ask the lioness to line up in front of the shoot, enter the shoot, and then sit down on the scale. 

Time for their weigh-ins!

Job well done!

Then the lioness backs out so the next one may enter, and so forth. 

Easy as pie, right? 

The In-Sync animal caretakers make this procedure look easy because they spend hours working the cats.   

In 2006, we instituted an Animal Husbandry Training Program, teaching the big cats commands such as down, stand-up, back, forward, open and target.  These basic commands allow us to perform simple medical procedures such as weighing the cats, drawing their blood, taking temperatures, performing skin biopsies, and examining the cats’ bodies, without having to anesthetize them.

We never know what to expect from day to day, but we do know this—we have the best jobs in the world!

"Remembering Grumpy"

A few weeks ago Karin and I were giving enrichment to Grumpy. Try as we might, we couldn't get him interested in coming out of his den to try the frozen chicken-cicle we had made for him. After several failed attempts to get his attention, Jake helped us by locking him in his den and placing the treat about 5 feet from the entrance. We opened the gate and waited for a few minutes to see if he would come out. He seemed very disinterested. In fact, he didn't even acknowledge our presence. 

We finally gave up and left.  We turned our attention to Kazuri and as we were watching him happily devour his treat, I looked over into Grumpy's enclosure. I noticed that the chicken-cicle had vanished and Grumpy was nowhere to be found. We went and looked into his den and there he was, on his side, just as he was before. The only evidence was a wet runny stain at the spot where Jake had placed the treat. "Sneaky!"  

We closed the gate and Jake dropped another treat right in the same place as before. This time Karin and I we went to the far side of the enclosure. After a few minutes we could see movement in his den. Then, out popped Grumpy's head. He looked to the left. Then he looked to the right. He licked his lips and slowly wobbled forward. He took a step, reached down and grabbed the treat with his teeth. In the same motion he reversed direction and carefully backed up. He stopped at the entrance and with his mangled paws perched on the lip of the den; he quickly adjusted the treat in this mouth. He took one step back and disappeared into his den. 

Photos and Article Written by:  Robert and Karin Saucedo, husband and wife, volunteers at In-Sync Exotics.

Friday, August 5, 2011

What A Week at In-Sync!

This week has been a very busy week for In-Sync Exotics – some days were filled with happiness, others with sadness, and yet through it all, our days were filled with love and gratitude. 

Here is a round-up as to what happened at In-Sync Exotics this week:

GreatNonprofits and Guidestar announced the launch of their second Animal Welfare Campaign.  Any organization that receives 10 or more positive reviews during the month of August will be featured as a Top-Rated Animal Welfare Nonprofit.  We are currently #1 on the recognition list with 48 positive reviews (30 reviews were written in the month of August)!

You can see where In-Sync Exotics stacks up against the competition by clicking here.

We posted a medical update on Howard, one of the Poetry cougars, on this blog.  It looks like Howard will be going in for exploratory surgery on Monday, so we are praying the surgery goes well and corrects Howard’s medical problems.

In Loving Memory Vicky Keahey remembered Kane, one of the Poetry cougars, whom passed away last week.  While we are still saddened by his loss, we know he is having fun eating grass this side of Heaven at a wonderful place just over the Rainbow Bridge.

We said goodbye to Grumpy, one of the Leona tigers, whom called In-Sync home one year ago this month.  While we were sad to say good-bye to Grumpy, we are happy he joined Brooks just this side of Heaven at a special place called the Rainbow Bridge.

Razoo extended our fundraising deadline by one day due to the last minute donations made to the project overnight!  Thank you donors!!  We pray the week will end on a positive note as we inch a little closer to our fundraising goal.

But the week isn't over yet!  We expect to post a few more "happenings" before the week is out, so keep checking back often for the latest news!!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Farewell Grumpy -- Be Free, Be Happy

One of the saddest tasks animal care staff must face is saying goodbye to an animal that brought inspiration and love into their hearts.  This afternoon, staff and volunteers said good-bye to Grumpy, one of the Leona 6 cats, as he slipped quietly to sleep in the company of loved ones.    

Grumpy touched the lives of so many volunteers by exemplifying his desire to live and enjoy each new day.   We will never forget the day when we first met Grumpy, as we were saddened to see he could barely walk because of really long toe nails protruding from his foot pad.    After a trip to Texas A&M Veterinary Hospital to trim back his nails, Grumpy came home to live out his final year with us. 

Grumpy loved chewing on bones, sneaking into his tub late at night, and chuffing at volunteers who kept him company during the day.  A couple of volunteers were particularly touched by Grumpy, saying that even though they were going through difficult times in their own lives, seeing Grumpy fight to enjoy life, despite his physical limitations, made them realize life was precious and should be celebrated every day with friends and loved ones.

While we were sad to say good-bye to Grumpy, we are happy he joined Brooks just this side of Heaven at a special place called the Rainbow Bridge.

Species: Bengal Tiger
(Panthera tigris tigris)

Sex: Male
Born: September, 1991
Age:  20 years old
Called In-Sync Home:  August 30, 2010
Crossed the Rainbow Bridge:  August 4, 2011

Last Day for the Poetry Cats' Project!

Today is the last day to contribute towards the Poetry cats' medical care project on Razoo!  We are just short $10 from an even $2,000 -- can you help us out? 

On this final day of the project, In-Sync Exotics and the former Poetry cats would like to extend lots of cougar purrs and lion roars for all those who participated in this project! 

Thank you!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

In Loving Memory of Kane as Written By In-Sync Exotics' President

President & CEO of In-Sync Exotics, Vicky Keahey, wrote a beautiful poem in loving memory of Kane last night.  We hope you will visit the In-Sync Exotics' website to read this wonderful poem as it describes the love that she, the animal caretakers, and volunteers had for Kane. 

Kane enjoyed playing in the grass at In-Sync Exotics

Just 2 Days Left!

There are only 2 days left to contribute to Give a Special Gift to Save a Life of a Big Cat! project.  We are praying for a miracle that someone will contribute a large donation towards the Poetry cats' medical care as we are currently $1695 short of our goal of $3500.  If you are thinking of making a tax-deductible gift towards the care of these special cats, now is the time to do so!

You can make a difference in the lives of these animals!

Our special thanks to the 31 donors and supporters of this special project; you guys and gals are awesome for helping us raise over $1500 for the Poetry cats!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Howard's Health Report

Not long after Howard’s photograph hit the world wide web, we’ve received numerous requests for an update on Howard’s health condition.  For those of you not familiar with the Poetry cat rescue, you may want to visit our blog posting titled poetry-in-motion-saving-20-big-cats before reading this article.  

When we first saw Howard, we were concerned with how thin he looked, so we took him to see his new In-Sync Exotic’s veterinarian.  Sadly, Howard (a 10-12 year old neutered cougar) was diagnosed as being emaciated. When he first arrived, it was extremely hard for Howard to eat his food without vomiting. When Howard was unable to defecate he was taken back to our vet for a more thorough examination.  Blood work and other test results revealed that Howard’s intestines had dried up due to extreme dehydration and were not working properly. Hard balls of fecal matter had to be removed by the veterinarian. Howard had to endure a second enema when he had to return to the vet the very next night.  Howard was released to In-Sync Exotics to be monitored by our staff to make sure he could eat, drink, and defecate on his own. Howard was also diagnosed as having a low potassium level.  One of the jobs Potassium is needed for is to help Howard’s intestines work correctly . 

Four days later, Howard finally ate a small meal consisting of one pound of ground beef with mineral oil.  It was slow going for Howard, but he was able to eat and later produced a small amount of fecal matter.  He had been taking two types of antibiotic pills each day and potassium gel shots in his mouth. We knew it would take some time before his intestines function properly again.

Howard was seen by the vet yesterday because he has developed some swelling in his back legs.  Our vet believes Howard may have had a bowel constriction when he lived in Poetry, caused by the consumption of meat contained in plastic bags.  This old blockage may have caused premature death of cells and living tissue (necrosis) in his intestines.  We believe over time, scar tissue built up in his intestines, now making it difficult for fecal waste to pass through his body. The vet believes Howard may have abnormal accumulation of fluid beneath his skin (edema), causing his legs to be tender and swollen.

In order to help Howard’s digestion track, we've added a little mineral oil to his meat again and thus far it appears to be working since Howard had a normal bowel movement last night!  Yea!
Howard was such a good trooper during his vet examination.  The vet was able to check his tummy and teeth, without sedation.  It wasn’t until the vet started examining his legs and tail that Howard expressed discomfort.

Despite the pain Howard must be feeling at this time, his attitude is great.  He likes to explore his new home, but is having some difficulty walking since he is using his hocks instead of his paw pads.  We believe he is walking in this matter because of the discomfort he feels in his swollen hind legs.

And as if poor Howard did not have enough medical challenges, the vet believes he may have a heart arrhythmia (an abnormal heart rhythm).  Another one of our cougars, Keenan, also has an abnormal heart rhythm and is currently treated with Enapril, so if Howard does have this condition, we can treat him.

Since Howard’s arrival at In-Sync Exotics, he has put on some weight.  His hip bones are no longer visible, but his shoulder bones are still somewhat pronounced.

He’s eating like a champ though!  Each night he eats about 2 pounds of meat plus three meaty treats, and two chicken drumsticks – yum!  Howard loves his food!  On Sundays, we want Howard to clean his teeth and work his jaw bones, so we give him a large bone with very little meat on it.  Then, to satisfy his need for meat, on Wednesday we give him a bone with lots of meat on it!

The color and feel of his coat is improving as he has taken an interest in grooming himself!

Howard is not the only cougar from Poetry having trouble “pooping”—Chloe and Spike are having some difficulty as well.  So all three cougars have a little mineral oil added to their meat each day.  Hopefully, we will have an excellent progress report on all three cats in the very near future.

Howard has truly won the hearts of the animal care staff and the volunteers.  He loves to “talk” to anyone willing to listen—and he has such as sweet “voice!”  His favorite scents are fox and raccoon urine and Obsession perfume!

As to Howard’s future?  Well, we hope to integrate Spike with Howard and Chloe once her sutures have healed.  Chloe was spayed yesterday and the surgery went very well.  Currently Howard and Chloe live together, so it will be exciting to see how all three cats interact with one another in the near future.  More on that story later…

For now, all we can do is keep an eye on Howard, making sure he eats and “poops” normally.  If the situation does not improve, Howard may be scheduled for exploratory surgery to examine his intestines more thoroughly.  We will keep everyone apprised of Howard’s medical situation. 

Oh, before we forget, Howard wanted us to let you know that he is “adoptable!”  If you can “adopt” Howard, please visit our Adopt-A-Cat web page for information!  Howard says "thank you!!"

Later this evening:

Great news!  We received word this evening that Howard's potassium level is now within the normal range.  However, it looks like he may still require exploratory surgery; Howard is scheduled for surgery this coming Monday with our vet.  We will keep you posted on Howard's condition.

Monday Morning, August 8, 2011:

Howard's will not have his surgery today. After looking at all possibilities, Vicky and In-Sync Exotic’s veterinarian felt it best to take Howard to A&M next Monday or Tuesday. A&M have better facilities to handle any type of emergency that may arise, and his condition appears to be stable right now.  We will of course monitor him closely, and change the plan if necessary.

Only Three Days Left!

There are only 3 days left to contribute to Give a Special Gift to Save a Life of a Big Cat! project.  We are praying for a miracle that someone will contribute a large donation towards the Poetry cats medical care as we are currently $170 short of meeting half of our goal of $3500.  If you are thinking of making a tax-deductible gift towards the care of these special cats, now is the time to do so!

You can make a difference in the lives of these animals!

To all those who contributed to Give a Special Gift to Save a Life of a Big Cat!, thank you so very much!  We could not fulfill our mission to save these cats without your help!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Write Your In-Sync Exotics Review Today!

Great News!

GreatNonprofits and Guidestar announced the launch of their second Animal Welfare Campaign. In partnership with the National Animal Interest Alliance, the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries, the Humane Society and the Animal Legal Defense Fund, the campaign will recognize the top non-profits working to improve the welfare and conservation of all animals around the world.

Any organization that receives 10 or more positive reviews during the month of August will be featured as a Top-Rated Animal Welfare Nonprofit.

Okay, last month we received 18 terrific reviews and I just know we can garner another 18 fabulous reviews before the end of August, so click on the gold Great Nonprofits seal and write your In-Sync review today!

Thank you very much for supporting the animals at In-Sync Exotics; for with you, there is no US!

Tuesday Update:

We are #1 in the rankings thus far!

These nonprofits have qualified for the Top-Rated Nonprofits List

Let's make sure we stay #1 by writing an In-Sync Exotics review today!

In Memory of Kane

We received several inquiries regarding how to make gifts in Kane’s memory since his passing.  If you would like to make a contribution in Kane’s name, please click here; else you can make a generous contribution by visiting our special fundraiser webpage for Spike, Chloe, and Howard’s continued care, as they too are Poetry cougars, with special medical needs.

There are only 4 days left for the Give a Special Gift to Save a Life of a Big Cat! project. Won’t you help us with the Poetry cougars and lions’ medical care bills?  These beautiful animals truly deserve a second chance at a healthy and loving life at In-Sync Exotics and you can help make that possible by contributing just $10 or more to the Razoo project! 

Whether you make a one-time, tax-deductible donation or sign up for our convenient membership program, every dollar makes a difference in our animals’ lives.  You are literally the life-line for these wonderful animals and we cannot thank you enough for your generous support towards our mission to care for those animals that cannot care for themselves!