In Memory ~ September 2014
We were saddened that Nigel’s brother, Ivan, passed away upon arrival at our sanctuary and could not experience the same bliss.
Ivan, Nigel and Tonka arrived before dawn on a Sunday morning. It was about 4:45 a.m. when his transporters pulled in. They’d driven several days from California to deliver these three new residents who would now call our sanctuary home.
Upon arrival, Ivan the caracal was weak and not walking. But, he didn’t appear to be critically ill. We had no information that would lead us to believe otherwise.
Supportive care was given for dehydration. Our vet was consulted, along with several exotic animal vets and sanctuary directors. He was scheduled to be seen by the University of Minnesota veterinary team that Thursday morning, but Ivan passed away shortly after. We had Ivan in our care for a scant 48 hours before we lost him.
His former caretakers, the transport staff from the accredited sanctuary who provided transport, and our sanctuary all came together to try and piece together what could have happened to Ivan.
With the information we had, it was believed to be neurological (Ivan had a prior history of neurological concerns) or capture myopathy (muscle damage resulting from stress). Everyone was concerned and everyone’s hearts were broken. Conference calls took place to share as much information as possible, as we knew his necropsy report would not be back for several weeks.
When it came in, the report raised more questions than answers. The results for his passing were inconclusive, but Ivan had several fractures in his pelvis which explained why he wasn’t walking.
His former caretakers said his capture on their end was stressful, but no information given led anyone to believe he had injured himself badly. Our hearts broke again.
We may never know what happened to Ivan. Did the stress of the capture and move, mixed with a pre-existing condition, cause this fate? We would only be guessing.
But we do know that it’s not the ending we wish for any animal. We are here to rescue animals in need – that is our mission. We feel strongly we made the right decisions with the little information we had available.
Unfortunately, the USDA cited TWS for not physically bringing Ivan to an emergency vet even though several vets and specialists were consulting on his case. The Wildcat Sanctuary did submit an appeal letter.
Since that time, Ivan’s brother has had insulin-related issues with similar symptoms and has had several tests. We have also informed the USDA of this since being related, Ivan may have had the same condition which requires several meals a day and regulating insulin. Nigel is currently responding positively to treatment.
We go to extraordinary lengths to provide the best care possible for each and every one of them. Rescues are hard work, and losing Ivan was heartbreaking. We cried for his loss as we do for each one we say goodbye to.
We’ll continue to celebrate his life, though, and do the best we can for each and every animal we rescue. Each time we see Nigel, we know that Ivan’s spirit is here with us, urging us to continue with our mission. We take comfort knowing that’s what he wanted for his brother…. and all those yet to be rescued.