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Why Did The Tiger Cub Die?


The tiger story is a classic example of good intentions gone wrong when anesthesia, surgery, and vaccines come together and cause deadly anaphylactic shock.


Col. Sam Harper,  Dogsport ReconnaissanceMarch 2, 2022 update, January 1, 2016

Col. Sam Harper, Dogsport Reconnaissance


My daughter was thrilled about a tiger cub being rescued from the streets of Hemet in Riverside County, CA. She showed me on her laptop where the Director of the Lions, Tigers, and Bears Sanctuary said the cub was malnourished, “weak in the back” and had a “bad hernia.“ They said the tiger cub had been bred in captivity, noting that he was declawed.



Exotic animal sanctuary founder, Bobbi Brink, said the tiger cub had “been yanked from his mother” at a crucial time “when he should be learning the most in his life.


Sounds like a bad beginning became a lucky rescue for the young tiger but like war and politics, the best intentions can go wrong.


 In an attempt to restore the cub to good health, the Sanctuary gave him the required vaccinations while he was under anesthesia for hernia repair surgery.


The veterinarian who did the surgery, Dr. Jane Meir, told reporters “the surgery went well and was uneventful” but then, as the tiger was regaining consciousness “he suffered profound respiratory failure and collapse. Despite the best resuscitation efforts of our veterinary team and animal care staff, Himmel did not recover.


The vet believes that the tiger cub had an allergic reaction called ii anaphylactic shock. I've seen plenty of that on the battlefield so it would be speculative to blame the anesthesia or to wonder if the surgical shock and the vaccine together caused the deadly reaction.


The CDC, Veterinary and Medical associations say that vaccine-associated anaphylaxis is rare, literally a 'one in a million' occurrence.


I've learned a lot writing for the NetPlaces network, enough to know that a lot of dog owners would disagree with that 'one in a million' statement meant to defuse. So, I looked it up. Here's a summation of what I learned...


Anaphylactic reactions are not uncommon with vaccines such as rabies, canine coronavirus, and leptospirosis.


I called a doctor buddy of mine who went into private practice after he left the Army. Long story short, he said “killed vaccines actually have more virus particles and mercury-based preservatives per dose than live vaccines.” He went on to explain...


When anaphylactic shock occurs, he said IV medications usually reverse the condition before it becomes fatal. He wouldn't/couldn't say whether the combination of anesthesia and vaccine actually caused the tiger's death.



We went on talking, telling Ollie North war stories until my kid gave me the high sign, meaning she wants my attention. I signed off but saved my notes.


She had been surfing... pointed out that tigers are obviously not domestic animals and so they have not become genetically conditioned to accept the barrage of vaccines to which dogs, cats, horses, pigs and cattle are subjected.


I thought that was a pretty astute conclusion even before she read aloud “... animals in the wild develop natural immunities to the contagious diseases, bacteria, and fungi they normally encounter.


She said that today we are all persuaded, as was the veterinarian in this case, to immunize every living being against every perceived disease to which there is even a remote chance of exposure. She frowned when I laughed, couldn't help it. Been there. done that. Every time we deployed to a new country.


CDC recommends a long list of vaccines for civilians traveling out of country, from African Tick Bite Fever to Zitka virus. The tiger cub was probably born here but genetically he was vulnerable to Americanized animal diseases and to the vaccines made to protect domestic dogs and cats from those diseases.


My kid teared up, said “so the rescued tiger died from an overdose of kindness?


Loss of any endangered species is tragic but that tiger cub may have delivered a message about one of today's most profitable veterinary medicine practices.


I must have thought that out loud. She said I should write about it. Maybe. Someday. EST 2002 © Jan 2016-1862203





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