Zoo's lion J.B. euthanized

18-year-old cat put down after liver disease diagnosis

March 27, 2007|By Nicole Fuller | Nicole Fuller,sun reporter

J.B., the 18-year-old lioness at the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore, was euthanized after veterinarians diagnosed her with liver disease, zoo officials announced yesterday.

The lion's keepers first noticed J.B. was ill March 17 when her appetite decreased and she appeared lethargic, said Rebecca Gullott, the zoo's mammal collection and conservation manager.

"Our animal keepers know their individual animals extremely well and are able to detect anything different about them," Gullott said. "She was a little bit lethargic and just looked not herself."

The zoo's veterinarians performed a battery of tests, which "indicated that she was potentially suffering from liver disease," Gullott said, and they placed the lion on a regimen of antibiotics.

After a few days, J.B. was still not eating, and a second round of tests showed no improvement, so veterinarians performed exploratory abdominal surgery Friday.

During the surgery, the decision was made to put J.B. down. Liver disease is a common ailment for geriatric carnivores, Gullott said.

"Our veterinary staff did everything they could to care for J.B., but unfortunately she did not respond to the treatment," Gullott said. "She will be deeply missed by zoo staff and guests."

J.B. came to the zoo from the Toronto Zoo in 1996. She leaves behind the zoo's other lion, Tsavo, 14.


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