Jaguar Diagnosed with Rare Leukemia
Test results have arrived on our female jaguar and unfortunately, the news is not good. Estrella has been diagnosed with a rare form of cancer, Chronic Myeloid Leukemia (CML), and is now receiving hospice care.
"This isn't typical leukemia you see in house cats,” stated Abilene Zoo Veterinarian Dr. Stephanie Carle, "This is an extremely rare form of cancer even in
humans. Estrella's condition is complicated by hyperviscosity syndrome which causes the blood to thicken and can result in headaches, Vertigo, eye
problems, and even seizures. Estella's prognosis is not good."
We started various testing on the 4-year-old jaguar after routine bloodwork showed high white blood cell counts. While CT scans came back normal, a bone marrow test came back supportive of the rare form of cancer.
"Treating large carnivores such as a jaguar for cancer is a difficult process," said Carle. "Unlike domestic animals, such as cats and dogs, you can't just walk up to a carnivore and administer chemotherapy."
The veterinary staff is consulting an oncologist about possible treatment options for the jaguar. Animal Care staff will continue to monitor Estrella's quality of life while making her as comfortable as possible.