Stephen J. Birchard DVM, MS, Diplomate ACVS

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Tora the Tiger: Abdominal exploratory to remove a large intestinal mass.

Tora is a 15 year old, 500 lb. male neutered tiger housed at the Exotic Cat Rescue Center (ERCC) in Center Point, Indiana. Tora was presented to the Center's veterinarian, Dr. Fred Froderman, for acute lethargy on 4/21/14. Physical examination under sedation revealed pale mucous membranes and a large abdominal mass. Further diagnostics revealed a PCV of 24% and a mass in the abdomen visible on ultrasonography.

Tora was anesthetized the following day and an abdominal exploratory performed.
Tora under anesthesia just before surgery
Severe hemoabdomen, and a basketball sized mass of the jejunum was found. An intraluminal intestinal foreign body (calf hoof) was also found in the portion of bowel just proximal to the mass.
Removing omental adhesions from the mass.
The mass was removed by resection and anastomosis of the involved intestine. No other masses were evident in the abdominal cavity.
Large round well circumscribed mass of the small intestine in Tora
Abdominal closure was performed routinely.
Excised intestinal mass. Note intraluminal calf hoof in the bowel (arrows)
Tora received 4 liters of intravenous lactated Ringers solution while under anesthesia. Famotidine and sucralfate were administered for 3 days postoperatively.

Tora has made gradual improvement over the past several days and is now eating liver and slowly regaining his strength. Histopathology of the mass revealed a low grade soft tissue sarcoma (possible gastrointestinal stromal tumor). The margins of the excision were clean.

If Tora continues to do well his prognosis is good since the sarcoma is low grade and was completely excised.

Tora's mother was rescued from a circus and transferred to the rescue center in 1997. Tora was born at the center and has lived there ever since. He is an amazing creature and I felt very privileged to be asked to participate in his care.

For more information on the ERCC, see

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