Friday, February 24, 2012

Our Weekly Recap of Events

Well, it was another busy week at In-Sync Exotics—and what a week it was for us!

On Monday we celebrated President’s Day by opening our doors to the public.  Amazingly, it was such a beautiful day for our guests to visit with our animals.

On Tuesday we discussed Okemo and Nadia’s upcoming medical procedures.  You may recall last week Vicky noticed Okemo had a swollen jaw on the right side of his face and the staff discovered Nadia had a circular wound on her face.  An appointment was made for our vet to come out and examine our animals while they were under sedation.  Needless to say, we were a little concerned with the effect sedation may have on our wild cats because…click HERE for the rest of the story.

On Wednesday, we introduced everyone to our two adorable African Servals, Jasi and Nefertiti (affectionately known to us as Nefie).  Both servals were well-kept former pets, brought to us by their former owners—but that is where their similarities end! To learn more about our servals, click HERE.

Thursday was a big day for our two tigers, Okemo and Nadia, as they were seen by their vet.  They were sedated, treated, blood and cultures taken, and then revived without any serious complications.  Read all about our tigers’ day with the vet HERE.

Update on Nadia:  Nadia’s x-rays revealed she has a tooth (T-3) on the right side of her face that needs to be pulled.  She has an appointment to have the tooth extracted on March 14, 2012.  We will keep you updated on her progress! 

Okemo day after his procedure resting

Update on Okemo:  The x-rays did reveal a problem with Okemo’s jaw; however, until the cultures results come back, we are hesitant to announce what is definitely wrong with Okemo.  We will keep you posted of Okemo’s progress as soon as we receive his lab test results.

Yesterday we released our first “tiger cam” video featuring Saber (Saber was the one who knocked over the camera), Nadia, Luca, and Mohan.  Emma was a little shy and was not seen on this particular video.  Stay tuned for more videos by Barry Stevenson to be released in the near future.  If you haven't seen the video yet, then click HERE -- be prepared to be amazed!

Razoo Big Cats Need Their Vaccination Project Reminder!  We are only short $290 towards our new goal of $1025!  Can you help us reach our goal by February 29, 2012? 

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Well, this concludes another busy week at In-Sync Exotics.  Be sure to check back in next week for more updates.  And don't forget--we are open on the weekends! 

So until next week, we hope you have a safe and happy weekend!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

A New Toy on the Playground!

You have got to see this wonderful video creation of our tigers -- it gives the words "Tiger Cam" a whole new meaning!

        A New Toy from Barry Stevenson.  Click on four arrows next to HD for full screen.   
It's play time for "the babies" at In-Sync Exotics Wildlife Rescue and Education Center in Wylie, Texas.

During morning recess the five tigers find something new in the playground - a special hi-definition video camera hidden safely inside a log to record a "tigers-eye" view of their world.

For more information about In-Sync Exotics visit

Music courtesy Jon Schmidt. "Love Story Meets Love Story" from the Bonus Tracks CD.
Thank you Barry for this fanstastic video of our tigers! 

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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! 

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Honestly--Have You Met Jasi and Nefie?

Our servals caught playing at night!
Have you met our African Servals yet?  No?  Well then, introductions are long overdue!  Meet Jasi (male serval coming up on his ninth birthday) and Nefertiti, aka “Nefie” (female serval who just had her third birthday last October).  Both servals were well-kept former pets, brought to us by their former owners. 

Jasi’s former owner came to Wylie, Texas looking for a fresh start.  Shortly after her arrival, Jasi decided to explore his new neighborhood by letting himself out the front door.  This clever wild cat was able to manipulate the door lever and push  it open to the dismay of the owner.  For about a week, Jasi explored his world until he was finally picked up by animal control and returned to his owner.  The owner had all the required paperwork to maintain the serval and intended on keeping little Jasi with her for as long as possible, so animal control returned the cat to his rightful owner after keeping him for about a week.  Unexpectedly, about six months later, Jasi’s former owner’s financial situation dramatically changed and she was unable to keep Jasi with her. Fortunately, the owner lived closed to In-Sync Exotics and was able to bring the boy to our facility. 

Meet Jasi!
We were aware at the time of Jasi’s arrival that he had a heart murmur.  A heart murmur is caused by turbulent blood flow within the heart or the large vessels exiting the heart. This results in an abnormal noise which was detected years ago by his former vet during examination. 

Our vet examined Jasi and recommended that he take Enalapril so as to dilate his blood vessels, helping his heart to work more efficiently.  Thankfully, Jasi’s heart murmur is unchanged so he only requires periodic examinations.

Living at In-Sync Exotics was a big transition for Jasi as he was used to living in a house and not outdoors.  To help him get used to his new home, we placed pillows on his den’s platforms to mimic the look and feel of his old sofa.  It took a while for Jasi to acclimate to his outdoor environment, but thanks to Nefie, his cagemate, he is now enjoying his new life.  Jasi’s former owner used to visit the boy for quite often until she accepted a job out of state.  It is our hope she will return someday soon and see how well Jasi is doing.

Nefie relaxing!
Nefie, the younger of the two servals, likes to keeps Jasi on his toes.  Nefie was voluntarily relinquished to us by her previous owners, who bought her from a breeder when she was only 2 pounds. She lived with them in the house for 15 months and only ventured outside when on a leash for walks.

Like Jasi, Nefie's owners took very good care of her, keeping her up-to-date on all shots and medical care; she was also microchipped at an early age. At 10 months old Nefie suffered from a broken leg, which was repaired at Texas A&M and is declawed on her front paws.

Nefie's owners decided to give her up when they realized they just didn't have time for her anymore.

Poor little Nefie was terrified of her new living arrangements! She shook with fear any time someone walked near her. Since she was not used to being outside we decided to keep her in an indoor enclosure for a few days.  Sadly, the previous owners have never returned to see how Nefie fared at her new home—they dropped her off and never looked back.

It was two years ago, yesterday, when Nefie arrived at In-Sync Exotics, and today she is a completely different cat.  She loves to play with her puppet toy, teasing Jasi, and keeping volunteers who care for her on their toes!  Nafie is no longer scared of people!  She has truly matured into a beautiful young serval.

So, does anyone happen to know what “serval” means?  Well, the name Serval is derived from a Portuguese word meaning "wolf-deer."  Interesting, huh?

Serval Range Map
Wild adult servals weight between 20-45 lbs. and stand about 21-26" tall at the shoulders with males larger than females. They are about 25 - 40" long, with a 8 - 18" tail. Servals are a medium-sized cat with golden coats containing bold black rosettes. They have big ears with distinct white oceli (white spots on the back of the ear just like tigers do) and long, slender legs.  Servals are found through the middle and southern parts of Africa and they are almost always centered near water, which is why the range does not include the driest areas of the continent including parts of the Sahara desert.  Their typical diet consists of rodents, insects and small birds caught in mid-air.

The serval's long and disc-like ears are used to detect the sound of movement. The cat has extraordinarily good hearing, and can pick up the ultrasonic high frequencies emitted by rodents and other small creatures. They can easily hone in on prey with their tall ears. Once they pin point the position, from where the sound is emanating, they can easily spot their prey. Prey is stalked and then pounced upon in a leap. Their long legs allows them to see just over the top of the grass, then leap straight up into the air to pounce on a rodent, mole rat, ground squirrel, or maybe a bird.

The serval is not known for attacking anything larger than a bird and will definitely not harm livestock. Even though they are sometimes blamed for sheep and poultry losses, jackals or other wild cats are more likely the culprits. Therefore, they are able to coexist with humans in the farmland areas of Africa.

Sadly,people are the main threat to servals. They are hunted for their tawny coats and in some areas for their meat. Servals are losing their fight for survival in the wild, and have now dwindled down in numbers due to human over-population taking over their habitat and hunting them for their pelts. They are also preyed upon by the bigger cats and wild dogs.

The serval is listed in CITES Appendix 2 (valid from December 22, 2011), indicating that cat is "not necessarily now threatened with extinction but that may become so unless trade is closely controlled.”

We hope you enjoyed this article on our African Servals.  Jasi and Nefie are waiting for you to come and see them, so please make plans to see them soon!

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Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Okemo and Nadia's Planned Trip to the Vet

We simply love our wild ones!  We make sure they receive lots of attention, quality food, treats, and bones, plus we make sure they have a safe and secure place to live.  So, when one of our cats is feeling poorly, it affects us all—doubly so, when two cats need medical attention.

Okemo's swollen jaw
Last Thursday evening Vicky noticed Okemo had a swollen jaw on the right side of his face.  His appetite was good and he did not show any behavioral changes.  Like always, Okemo was happy to see Vicky, chuffing to her with affection.

The vet was called the next morning and he came out to see Okemo.  We are not sure why he has a swollen jaw—perhaps an impacted tooth or worst case scenario, bone cancer.   Thankfully, the swelling has not increased since it was first discovered and Okemo does not appear to be in any pain.  He is eating his meals and enjoying his treats and bones.  What concerns us is how fast his face swelled up in such a short period of time.  He was fine during the day on Thursday; however, by dinner time his face was noticeably swollen.

Another view of Okemo's swollen jaw
Tomorrow, Okemo will be sedated and taken to the vet’s office so a thorough examination of his jaw can be made in a controlled environment.  We will also do a full blood work up to make sure there is nothing else going on with our precious tiger. 

Needless to say, we are a concerned with the effect anesthesia may have upon Okemo’s body since he is about 18 years old (considered geriatric). Often geriatric animals may have health conditions associated with the aging process, so they carry a higher risk than younger patients. 

Now for our second patient—Nadia, an eleven year old female tiger, will also be going to the vet with Okemo. 

This is what the would looked like 2 weeks ago
Two weeks ago, we noticed a small puncture wound on the side of her face.  We prayed this small wound would heal on its own, but unfortunately, two weeks later, she still has the same wound—it is not any larger, nor is it any smaller than when it was first discovered.  Her vet recommended she travel to his office so she can be thoroughly examined.  We are anticipating the wound will be excised in its entirety, tissue approximately one half inch around the wound will probably be removed and then the skin stitched closed with dissolvable stitches. 
This is how the wound looked on Sunday
Nadia will have round the clock “watchers” who will make sure she does not claw at her face for seven days, ensuing that her wound does not become infected.

Like Okemo, Nadia is eating well and her behavior has not changed since the discovery of the facial wound. 

We’d like to extend huge two paws up with a mighty roar of approval to our “watchers” who will keep a close eye on our convalescing tigress.  Our tiger’s health and well-being is truly in your “paws!”

Please keep Okemo and Nadia in your prayers tomorrow and we will keep you posted on their health progress.  Hopefully we will have some good news to share with you very soon.


Sunday, February 19, 2012

Happy President's Day!

The blog writer is taking President's Day off; however, In-Sync Exotics is OPEN today from 11am - 5pm!  For tour information, click HERE.

Blog postings will resume Tuesday morning, so stay tuned for more informative and entertaining news about the animals of In-Sync Exotics...