A necropsy performed on a euthanized Siberian tiger at the Greater Vancouver Zoo indicates the animal had a very large hernia in her diaphragm.
Sweetie was 18-years old when she was put down on December 31 after fallling into distress one month ago and failing to respond to treatment. Zoo officials made the difficult decision to put her down after further testing determined she would not survive.
According to Dr. Bruce Burton, the Zoo’s veterinarian, “A hiatal hernia which was almost certainly present since birth and thus was congenital rather than traumatic in origin. She did extremely well to live one year, let alone 18, considering the size of the hernia.”
“It was likely not something we could have repaired surgically and since she was not eating, we felt it was in her best interest (the kindest thing to do) for her to be humanely euthanized. It is unlikely she was in any real discomfort at all,” added Burton in a statement.
The Zoo has two remaining Siberian tigers and they are not related to Sweetie.
Image: Greater Vancouver Zoo