Monday, October 25, 2010

Hawaii bound in less than 12 hours!!!!!!


Holly said...

woot woot!

Elizabeth said...

Have FUN, FUN and more FUN..

Mary said...

Hope you're having fun! I hope you won't be checking this until you get back, but wanted to leave a question/comment while I was thinking about it.

Someone sent me a link to keeping wild animals as pets -- according to this link, 10-15K tigers are kept as pets or in private facilities with only 5k left in the wild!

To try to make a long story short, we were then talking about how you transport your pet tiger to the vet. I responded that the tiger probably doesn't go to a vet (this is for people keeping them in their homes/apartments not for zoo tigers, obv.)

My friend responded that if you're dropping $10k+ on a tiger, you take it to the vet.

I know how hard it is to find a qualified vet for birds, and they are far less exotic than tigers! Anyway, I thought I would ask your opinion -- how hard would it be to find a vet that would work on a tiger? If they're illegal in the jurisdiction, would you have to report them? What would you do if someone brought a tiger to be seen?

Anyway, sorry for the super long comment, but am curious!

The Homeless Parrot said...

Wow Mary, those are many different questions. Ok:

1) The veterinarians at my university treated big cats - both rescue/rehab cats and PET cats. I have a blood-curdingly story about a cougar maybe I'll tell sometime. I would expect that to find a COMPETENT veterinarian to work on a tiger, one would need to live near a large zoo or university with a zoo vet on staff. You could probably find a quack anywhere willing to "play" with a tiger i.e. "treat" it - but that is speculation.

2) As for legalities, those depend on state. Most states require a permit, but from the limited experience I have, anyone can basically obtain a permit. People also obtain them by illegal means, just like anything else.

3) As to what I would do...that's a hard question. We treated illegal species of birds in vet school all the time. Quaker parakeets (also known as monk parakeets) are illegal in many states. Ferrets are illegal in California. Most vets just treat them and say nothing. Those pets do not present a threat to human life, although they do (arguably) present an agricultural threat. A tiger is another story.

If someone brought me a tiger, I would look at several factors: 1) could I SAFELY treat it? Would my technicians be at any risk? If so, absolutely not. I would also ask if there was anyone else within a reasonable distance that could treat the animal better than myself? If so, then no. I would also assess how sick the animal was. If it was a dying tiger, and it could be safely handled (i.e. we could safely heavily sedate it) - then yes, I would try to help it.

As for reporting it, I guess it depends on the situation. We have treated tiger cubs from a local rescue/sanctuary - but they were obtained legally. If I saw a personal tiger, it would be totally dependent on the people and the situation.

And yes, people do bring their "pet" big cats to the vet. We saw a lot of servals at UT. Most of them were suffering terrible metabolic bone disease because the owners fed them straight meat they had multiple fractures in multiple limbs. Tragic and wrong on so many levels. We also saw a few cougar pets (seriously, the story behind one of those is just...OMFG). Also fennec foxes for pets (ridiculously cute but not good pets). People often have more money than sense. Or no money, no sense, and a credit card.

Hope that was clear as mud.

The Homeless Parrot said...

PS that should be blood-curdling.

Mary said...

Thanks so much for the detailed response. Very interesting!

A friend of mine with a quaker was thinking of moving to CA, and she'd been told that many vets look the other way, and some will even call it something like a green parakeet -- but as you said, much different than a large cat.

Thanks again!