Thursday, February 23, 2012

Nadia and Okemo's Afternoon with the Vet

Yesterday was certainly an emotional roller coaster for all of us at In-Sync Exotics.  Nothing is quite as concerning as being told that one of our cats or coatimundi needs to be sedated or anesthetized seeing that both procedures come with certain risks.

Surprisingly, most people don't know the difference between the two procedures.  So in order to put this story in its proper context, let's review quickly the differences between the two procedures, hmm? 

Sedation and anesthesia are used by veterinarians to perform certain diagnostics and treatments in older cats. Sedation refers to the administration of a drug designed to alleviate distress, irritation, excitement, and/or pain in the patient. Its primary use in cats is to enable diagnostic procedures such as x-rays or endoscopy to be performed without struggle. Sedatives are also used as restraining drugs for minor surgical and/or therapeutic procedures not associated with intense pain.

Anesthesia, on the other hand, refers to the bringing about the unconsciousness in a patient using an injectable drug or inhaled gas. Cats in a surgical plane of anesthesia are immune to pain, thereby allowing for more invasive and extensive surgical and therapeutic procedures. In many instances, sedatives are used in conjunction with general anesthetic drugs to allow for easier administration of the latter.

There is no doubt that for a geriatric tiger, like Okemo, the risk of sedation and anesthesia is greater than that of a younger, healthier tiger, like Nadia.  However, with the advent of new, state-of-the-art sedative drugs, combined with new diagnostic technology (like portable x-ray equipment) now available to veterinarians, this risk can be reduced significantly.

Yesterday afternoon Nadia was sedated at In-Sync Exotics so the vet could perform a visual inspection and take x-rays of her circular wound.  The good news is—Nadia does not have a tumor! 

Our vet shaved the infected area took x-rays and blood, and thoroughly cleaned her wound.  Luckily, she did not require sutures, so she will not have to be watched over by our volunteers 24 hours a day for the next 7 days.  Her prognosis looks really good.

Okemo was sedated later in the afternoon without any problems.  Our vet decided that since his sedation went very well, it would be best to conduct his examination at In-Sync Exotics too.  This would proclude our tiger from being sedated at In-Sync Exotics and then anesthetized at the vet clinic--we are reserving this option in case his test results warrants additional treatements.    

Once Okemo was sedated, we were able to go into his enclosure and prepare him for his examination.  His swollen jaw was cleaned and shaved so our vet could see the swollen sac found on the right side of his chin.  Since the sac was filled with fluid, our vet lanced the sac allowing the accumulated blood, pus, and bone shavings to drain from his wound.   Once the wound stopped draining, our vet thorough cleaned the area and took x-rays of Okemo’s jaw. We also drew blood from Okemo and both his blood and culture samples were sent off to be tested for any abnormalities.  We are very concerned about Okemo's prognosis.

Both tigers were given reversal drugs shortly after their individual procedures were completed and they regained consciousness without any serious complications.  Both tigers were a little nausea, vomiting three times before their stomachs settled.  This is a normal reaction to the sedative drugs and both cats are feeling much better now.

Tomorrow we should receive news on the tigers’ x-rays; Okemo’s cultures and the tigers' blood results should be ready in about 14 days.

In the meantime, we will keep you posted of our tigers' progress.  Please pray that our tigers' health conditions are not serious and that they heal very soon.  Thank you! 


  1. DId Okemo ever jump on the scale or is he still being shy about his weight? :p

    1. Okemo is still shy about his weight! We are working with him in the hopes that he will stand still long enough on the scale so we can obtain an accurate weight.

  2. What caused Okemo to have bone shavings in his jaw? Was that the cause of the swelling and infection?

    1. We are not sure what caused the bone shaving in his jaw, so we drew blood from Okemo and both his blood and jaw fluid culture samples were sent off to be tested for any abnormalities. Hopefully we will know what caused the bone shavings in the next couple of weeks.

  3. Is there a reason for not identifying the specific vet working on our cats, i.e. Dr. X vs "the vet"? I understand we have multiple vets who take care of our cats.

    1. No reason - it's just easier to type vet than to go back and forth between our two vets' names!