One look through an endoscopic camera told Florida veterinarian Brian Luria it was time to call in a surgeon. Dr. Luria, DVM, Dipl. ACVIM, became suspicious Monday after using ultrasound and X-rays to examine a 400-pound tiger that had not eaten in nearly two weeks.
The tests led to the discovery of a 4-pound, basketball-sized hairball too large to remove using an endoscope.
Two days later, Mike Reems, DVM, Dipl. ACVS, and Don Woodman, DVM, operated on Ty the tiger at BluePearl Veterinary Partners in Clearwater and successfully removed the mass from his stomach.
The 17-year-old tiger, who lives at Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation in Seminole, Fla., is recovering.
Drs. Luris and Reems work at BluePearl, while Dr. Woodman owns Animal Hospital of Northwood in Safety Harbor, Fla. Woodman made headlines in October when he used a tranquilizer gun to capture a rhesus macaque that had roamed Tampa Bay area for nearly four years.
While hairball records are not kept, Ty’s lifesaving operation came 16 months after an English housecat needed surgery to remove a 5-inch, 7.5-ounce hairball that her veterinarian reported filled her entire stomach.