In-Sync Exotics Wildlife Rescue and Education Center in Wylie announced the death of a cougar earlier this week.
Officials at the sanctuary said Raven died from an apparent heart attack, not canine distemper which has claimed the lives of eight cats at the facility.
Here is the information posted on In-Sync's Facebook page:
"We have some very sad news to report. We lost our beautiful Raven, who has only been here for 3 months. Raven was 18 or 19 years old, and came along with two other cougars and 10 tigers from Van, Texas (the cougars came in Jan, the tigers in Feb). We visually check each cat every night after feeding and before bed, and Monday night Raven was fine. She ate well, was active and chirping at people and seemed her usual happy self. We also visually check each cat first thing each morning, and Tuesday morning, Raven was in her playground, and she was gone. We immediately took her to our veterinarians for a full necropsy. The necropsy indicated that Raven died from a heart attack caused by bacterial endocarditis. Apparently there are no symptoms, no signs that would have alerted us to this cardiac problem. It just happens over time, and continues to scar the heart until the heart finally just stops. She was outwardly healthy, with good blood work and did great when she was spayed a few weeks ago. We are all so shocked and saddened at her loss. We are consoling ourselves with the the knowledge that while she was with us, she was very happy, and she knew that she was safe and loved. People have sometimes asked us - why do your cats pass away? Well, to be blunt - we will always lose all of our cats eventually. Our cats stay with us for life, and we have many older cats. It's also important to remember that we often take in cats who are already quite elderly, and who are often in poor health. These cats are usually very hard for agencies to place, so we happily accept them whenever possible. We feel that the older or sicker cats deserve a loving home where they are safe and loved, for as long as possible. Sometimes even the best medical care can't overcome years of neglect, starvation and nonexistent medical care that many of these cats experienced for many years before coming to live at In-Sync. Our primary care vets do extensive medical work on all of our cats, including annual vaccinations, routine bloodwork, urine tests, fecal tests, and more. We also work with specialists including oncologists, orthopedic specialists and imaging specialists. Our vet bills range from $150,000/year to $250,000/year, but sometimes, the best care in the world cannot overcome some illnesses. We love you Raven, we were honored to know you, and we will always miss you."
Eight big cats have died from an outbreak of canine distemper that refuge officials described as "an absolute nightmare," Iona, a female Bengal tiger, died in March.
Experts believe raccoons likely started the outbreak by crawling around the large outdoor cages.