Cause of Death in Zoo’s Tiger Now Known

Kendra, left, an Amur tiger at the Assiniboine Park Zoo, cuddles up to one of her cubs on Monday, October 3, 2011. (JENNA CUMBERS / METRO WINNIPEG FILE)

The cause of death in an Amur tiger at Assiniboine Park Zoo in August has been attributed to bacterial pneumonia.

Zoo staff said Tuesday that Reka, who passed away August 27, suddenly became ill from a form of bacteria commonly found in the mouths of members of the cat family.

“While it is unusual for oral bacteria such as this to result in clinical disease, it can opportunistically cause infections and in this particular case, the bacteria entered Reka’s lungs and resulted in pneumonia,” said Dr. Chris Enright, head of veterinary services at the zoo. “Testing for canine distemper and other viruses came back negative.”

The bacteria involved in Reka’s illness is not likely to result in clinical disease in other feline species at the Assiniboine Park Zoo. No other animals have shown signs of illness and are being carefully monitored by the zoo’s animal care and veterinary staff.

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