Necropsy reveals Hattiesburg Zoo's Sumatran tiger died from leukemia

Necropsy reveals Hattiesburg Zoo's Sumatran tiger died from leukemia
Cinta fell ill last week and died on Sunday. Source: Hattiesburg Zoo

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - The Hattiesburg Zoo says the cause of death of Sumatran tiger, Cinta, was a direct result of systemic mastocytosis, whose common name is mast cell leukemia.

Cinta passed away on May 7, 2017, after a week of illness.  Zoo officials said Cinta had become lethargic, showed an uncommon loss of appetite and was severely dehydrated.

Zoo officials say the initial necropsy from the Diagnostic Laboratory at Mississippi State's College of Veterinary Science in Jackson revealed an enlarged spleen.  Further blood and tissue samples were extracted for more in-depth insight as to the tiger's health and those findings indicated the tiger had mast cell leukemia.

According to the Hattiesburg Zoo, the aggressive form of leukemia is uncommon in younger large cats, and, it is not easily identifiable outside of a bone marrow biopsy.

At the time of Cinta's death, zoo officials said Kuasa had been medically examined and was not experiencing any symptoms.  Officials say while regular annual exams are conducted each fall, an additional full physical has been performed on Kuasa.   There were no abnormal findings from the physical.

The twin Sumatran tigers were permanently loaned to the Hattiesbug Zoo from the Los Angeles Zoo in 2014.