Tiger’s death caused by heart defect


The young Siberian tiger that died at Aldergrove’s Greater Vancouver Zoo at the end of April expired of a congenital heart defect.

A complete necropsy for Hani, who was almost four, was released by the zoo on Tuesday.

A preliminary autopsy had showed a build up of fluid and fibrin in the young tiger’s chest, which is usually caused by an infection, said Dr. Bruce Burton, the zoo’s vet.

“However, upon closer inspection, this turned out not to be the case with Hani,” Burton said.

Hani suffered from left-sided heart failure, which was the result of some form of cardio-myopathy.

Cardio-myopathy is a genetic disease that affects the heart muscle. The underlying problem led to the build up of fluid.

Some domestic dogs and cats suffer from a similar disease, and the result is typically a sudden death. There are no warning signs or successful treatment procedures for cardio-myopathy, said Burton.

“It is important to realize that all animals, both wild and domestic, can have fatal genetic, congenital or acquired problems which we are powerless to treat,” said the vet.

“We all miss Hani very much, but are comforted to know there was nothing we could have done to have either prevented or treated her condition,” Burton said.

The zoo thanked Dr. Ann Britton, and independent veterinary pathologist, who worked on the investigation.

The weeks since Hani’s death have been difficult ones for the zoo’s staff and volunteers, according to manager Jodi Henderson.

Hani was born in Seoul Zoo, in South Korea, on May 22, 2011. She came to Langley in the summer of 2012 with her sister Hana.

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