A cougar has died at a North Texas animal sanctuary decimated by the outbreak of the distemper virus.
But officials at the In-Sync Exotics Wildlife Rescue and Education Center in the Dallas suburb of Wylie said the cougar was euthanized due to kidney failure, and not the victim of canine distemper that has claimed the lives of other big cats at the facility.
The refuge announced over the weekend the death of the cougar, a 20-year-old female named Crimson.
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"We are very sad to announce the passing of Crimson. (She was a cougar) Towards the end of 2011, Crimson had some kidney problems which responded very well to treatment. However about 8 months ago, her blood work again showed kidney problems. She has been receiving Azodyl and subcutaneous fluids during the last 8 months, and we have been running frequent blood work to monitor her. Two weeks ago her blood work showed deterioration of her kidney function, and a week later it worsened significantly. We were no longer able to keep Crimson comfortable, so the decision was made today to give her peace. Crimson was 20 years old, and we are so happy to have been able to love her for the last 6 years of her life," the sanctuary said in a statement on their Facebook page.
Her death was preceded by the recent deaths of five tigers and a lioness in an outbreak of distemper that refuge officials describe as "an absolute living nightmare."
More than a dozen other animals are still suffering from the virus.
Experts believe raccoons likely started the outbreak by crawling around the large outdoor cages.