Macho B was diagnosed with kidney failure. When he was taken to the Phoenix Zoo the in-house blood work identified kidney values as “off the scale.” His BUN (blood urea nitrogen) level was >180mg/dl. Normal levels would have been between 15-35mg/dl. According to Wikipedia, the BUN is a measure of the amount of nitrogen in the blood in the form of urea, and a measurement of renal function. The next indicator of kidney failure was Macho B’s creatinine levels. According to Wikipedia, creatinine is a breakdown product of creatine phosphate in muscle. It is chiefly filtered out of the blood by the kidneys. If the filtering of the kidney is deficient, creatinine blood levels rise. Macho B’s creatinine level was 15.2mg/dl. A normal reading would have been between 1.3-2.5mg/dl. The Phoenix Zoo vets concluded that the only treatment options were: intravenous fluids or diuresis; either a kidney transplant (none available), or routine kidney dialysis (not feasible). During the necropsy Macho B’s kidneys were described as “very pale and firm.”
Tissue samples of Macho B’s kidneys were sent to three different labs; The University of Arizona Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory, University of California Wild Carnivore Pathology Laboratory, and a USGS lab. The UofA diagnostic lab disagreed with the Phoenix Zoo’s diagnosis of kidney failure, “the histologic sections of the kidney do not indicate significant renal disease.” (See weblog for link to article about UofA findings) But, the UofCA lab concurred with the Zoo and added another reason for Macho B’s decline in health, “This jaguar had two significant disease processes that may have contributed to his clinical signs, chronic renal disease and subacute enteritis.” I had to go to answers.com for the definition of the last disease: enteritis-inflammation of the intestinal tract, especially the small intestine. The UofCA report continued: The jaguar had significant chronic changes in the kidneys typical of those commonly occuring in aged felids. The cause of these changes is not well established, but chronic progressive hypoxic damage is most likely.
I am awaiting the USGS report and will publish their findings once I receive them.
Blood taken from Macho B at his initial capture could not be analyzed at his re-capture to determine if kidney disease was a pre-existing condition for him. The blood drawn from Macho B during his initial capture was done by AZGFD technician Smith. According to him a small amount of blood was collected because “…the blood was hard to get-had trouble with that. I had a real hard time-that was the problem with that because that’s the first time I ever got to draw blood out of a cat…I didn’t get a good sample.” In addition, Smith and his co-worker, Crabb, didn’t store the two vials that contained 1.5ml of Macho B’s blood properly. When the blood was requested for analysis on the day of the re-capture to determine Macho B’s health at the initial capture the lab determined the blood sample was not suitable because it had been stored improperly (frozen) and the sample was too small.