Thursday, January 10, 2013

Aramis, Aasha and Sabu Update!

Hello again!  Did you miss your weekly blog updates?  Yes?  Well, let's see if we can't get you caught up on the latest In-Sync Exotics' news...


As many of you know, it's been a challenge to get Aramis to eat his meals.  But for those who are just joining us, let's start from the beginning of our lion's medical story...

Back in November, we noticed that Aramis had difficulty holding down his meals on a consistent basis.  Some days he could hold down all or part of his meals, others he simply could not hold down any food at all.

We thought that maybe he had an intestinal blockage, but since we was "popping" (albeit not as much) on a regular basis, we believed there was no blockage.

We tried various remedies during this time--petroleum jelly to help move the food along, Prilosec (in case of excess stomach acid), Metronidazole (antibiotic used to fight bacteria in the body) and Sucralfate (an oral gastrointestinal medication) with the hopes that Aramis' apetite would improve and he would be able to hold his meals down.  All of this took place within the first two weeks of November.

During the second half of November, Aramis would eat, but some days it would be only be about 10% to 50% of his regular diet--with no vomit.  Not optimal!

From Nov. 27th through Dec. 9th he ate well, took his treats and did not vomit. We hoped Aramis was on the mend. Then another setback; Dec. 10th, Aramis refused to eat.  For the remainder of that week, Aramis ate only about 5% to 10% of his meals, then vomited all of it up once again. 

What was going on with our precious boy?  On the 14th we started on his medications again and the next day his vet came out for a visit to see what was happening with him.  We planned on sedating Aramis so we could take some blood samples but unfortunately it  rained and the air temperature was too cold to knock him out, so we formulated a new plan.

For the next two days, Armis was feed small amounts of meat, four times per day, with the hopes that he would be able to hold down smaller amounts of food. Sometimes he would eat and sometimes he would not.  Sadly, there was still some vomiting going on, so we made another appointment to take him in to the vet on December 19th.

Our hopes soared when eat ate all four of his small meals the next day!  Did he still need to go to the vet, we wondered?  Absolutely!

So we were off to the clinic the next day.   His vet decided not to sedate him until we can get a better weight on him. He had been trying to weigh him for a month with no success.  So instead, we took him off the Metronidazole but kept him on the Sucralfate, and switched him to Famotidine.

During Christmas week, Armis took a turn for the worse...he was still producing stool, so we figured his intestines were functioning properly.  He wasn't missing any toys or toy parts from his quarters or playground, so we didn't think he had a "toy" blockage problem.  Amazingly, Aramis' attitude was fine--he still roared at night, appeared alert, and moved around his quarters, until the last couple of days before his big trip to Texas A&M Veterinary School of Medicine.

On December 27, Aramis and crew traveled to Texas A&M where he underwent a CT scan, sonogram, and some blood was drawn for testing. 

Blood work showed elevated liver enzymes. Aramis appeared to be dehydrated and was given 14 liters of IV fluids.  Other test showed some inflammation of the liver. All other findings were normal for spleen, kidneys, adrenal glands, abdominal lymph nodes. No evidence of biliary (relating to the bile tract) obstruction were seen. Upon waking, Aramis up we gave two types of anti-nausea drug.

It took almost six hours for Aramis to wake up. He was very drunk and unresponsive.  The elevated liver enzymes were blamed for this and was recommended that we do not sedate him again in the near future until we are able to get him well and recheck blood work.

On Dec. 30th we were able to catch Aramis in our vet chute to give three liters more of fluids and redraw blood for more tests. Thankfully, we were able to get him to eat one pound of liver. It had been seven days since his last bit of food and we were VERY worried about losing our Aramis!!

We ran the following blood tests:  CBC, CHEM, FELV,FIV,FPL,T4, Toxoplasma, Ehrlichiosis, West Nile, Distemper. All these test have come back negative. The liver biopsies have come back negative for culture and histopath--it just showed he had some inflammation, but no cause. He is also acting very lethargic for a couple of days.  Everyone was stumped--what in the world was happening to Aramis?

On Jan. 2nd, we caught Aramis in the vet chute again and gave 6cc of B12 IV. The very next day he was singing again for the first time in a week and seemed more alert. He even showed interest in food by smelling it, but still would not eat the meat. 

On Jan. 4th, Aramis still refused to eat. We talked with vet again and decided to try Valium for appetite stimulant. Usually Valium needs to be given IV in order to work really fast. Once the medication was administered, Aramis began eating within three hours -- and he ate about 4 pounds!

The next morning, Jan 5th, he did vomit a small amount of white foam and a small piece of meat, but at least he held down the majority of his meal!  We gave him 10cc of DEX which is a big dose of steriods hoping we would eat that night. ...[sigh]...sadly, he did not.

Then lo and behold, the next day ( Sunday, Jan. 6th), Aramis ate 41/2 pounds and began singing and playing once he finished his meal!  A miracle?!  We started him on another medicine called Ursodiol for gallbladder issues and darted him again with the Cerenia 11cc's.

The next day, Aramis ate about five pounds of meat throughout the day (yay!) and thankfully we took his medicine (pills) instead of us having to administer shots!  Baby step improvements!

On Tuesday of this week, Aramis ate about 4.5 pounds of meat. And then last night, Aramis ate his treats but refused to eat his regular meal and take his pills.

All we can do now is keep trying to get Aramis to eat his meals, take his medications, and pray that our vets will figure out what is ailing our boy--and soon!

We want to thank everyone who extended prayers for our boy's improved good health.  We truly believe in the power of prayers and we hope you will continue to hold Aramis in your thoughts today!  Thank you!


We noticed that our beautiful tigress was having trouble getting up and laying down.  Her legs seem to be out of alignment with the rest of her body, so we decided it was time to have her back legs and hips x-rayed to see what is going on with our girl.

So on January 4th (Friday) we took Aasha to the vet.  It didn't take long for the vet to render a diagnoses as to what ailed our young tigress--Aasha has juvenile arthritis in both her hips.

Arthritis is caused by inflammation of the joints.  It causes pain, swelling, stiffness, and loss of motion.  Sadly, this explains why Aasha has difficulty laying down and getting up.  While we cannot pinpoint for certainty the cause of our tigress' juvenile arthritis, we cannot help but wonder whether or not her stunted growth as a cub may be a contributing factor to her current health situation.

Unfortunately, we cannot place our tigress on strong arthritis medication because of the long-term side effects of the drugs.  Humans and dogs, for instance can take non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), painkillers that reduce inflammation in the joints.   Unfortunately, cats lack an enzyme system in the liver to metabolize most NSAIDs, and are extremely prone to toxicity from them.  There are some NSAIDs we can give our older cats, like Sabu, but because Aasha is so young, there is a greater risk of liver damage if she remains on a NSAID for many years; we have to use non-medical treatment options.

So for now, we are using Cosequin and keeping an eye on her weight because overweight cats suffer greater arthritis symptoms than their thinner counterparts. By keeping her active, providing her with muscle strengthening activities, we hope to decrease the pain and stiffness in her joints.

Aasha has overcome so much in the last two years that we pray we can help her live a normal and fulfilling life with arthritis.  Please say a special prayer for our special tiger, Aasha.


Sabu was seen sporting a red lipstick-like stain on the side of his face last week.  How did he get the obvious red smear on his face? Did he receive a big smooch from one of our volunteers?

Well, apparently, this was not the first time Sabu was seen with the red smear on his face...  Hmm... the mystery thickens...  We know that Sabu is loved by many of the ladies, but this is crazy!

Turns out, Sabu sometimes loses one of his liquid Vitamin A pills, rolls on it, and viola!  The red smear appears!  Did you know that Sabu takes 10 Vitamin A pills in the morning and 10 more at night?  Pills are given in a special treat for our maneless male lion and sometimes he gets a little excited that he drops a pill now and then.  So if you happen to see a red smear on our handsome boy's face, you now know where it came from!  Sabu's next Vitamin A blood draw test is set for January 18th. 

Don't Forget!  World Wear Project

We are helping our community "go green!" By partnering with World Wear Project, we can raise money for the animals when you bring to In-Sync Exotics your used items and place them in our new bin!  Since World Wear Project collects many and varied items that can be placed in the bin, it's time to clean out your closets, garage, and attic (if you have one) and bring to us the clothes and shoes you know that you'll never wear again.  Let's face it, the 70s, 80s and 90s are over and the odds that your old clothing will come back in fashion is slim to none, so let's surrender those old clothes for a great cause!

Items they accept:  Clothing, shoes, belts, purses, wallets, hats, caps, backpacks, hard toys, stuffed animals, and pots and pans. 

Items they do not accept:  Furniture of any kind, knives, kitchen appliances, appliances with cords, and items made of glass.

Almost 100% of our donated household items and clothing can be recycled, regardless of its condition.  By recycling your items, you will help In-Sync Exotics (we receive a check based on the amount donated), reduce solid waste, and provide employment to Texans!  Win-win!  So come out this weekend with your donated items, load up our bin, and then visit our cats. Two great causes all at the same site--you can't but help feel good about that, right?

Please help support In-Sync Exotics by bringing in your items today ~ we thank you for your kind donation!

We hope you enjoyed today's blog posting! Be sure to check back tomorrow for more fun and informative information about our exotic cats and their friends of In-Sync Exotics! Don't forget to let us know your reaction to this posting by clicking on one of the reaction buttons below--and share this blog posting with others please ~ Thank you!



  1. Aramis seemed excited to see us cutting the meat up in front of him. Don't know if he was hoping that someone would cut my finger since we were using my little (emphasis on little) knife.
    My poor baby girl Aasha, always saying prayers for you.
    So the make up on Sabu was not put on by Sheila while Sabu was sleeping? Hmmm. Lol!

  2. I'm so glad Aramis is doing better; I was VERY worried about him!

    Question: if clothing is in bad shape, is it turned into shoddy/mungo?