Canine distemper virus, or CDV, is a virus that attacks the digestive system, the respiratory system and degeneration of the nervous system. Though it mostly affects dogs, it can be found in wild animals like raccoons. It is an airborne virus, but is also present in any and every excretion from an infected animal. Recently 22 big cats were diagnosed with CDV at In-Sync Exotics.
It is thought that they caught the virus from some wild raccoons that live in the woods along side the sanctuary, which most likely perched in the trees above their enclosure and urinated or defecated into the play areas. Some are asking why the animals were not vaccinated but many vets actually recommend against vaccinating big cats against the virus.
In-Sync is home to over 60 big cats including lions, cougars, tigers, jaguars, cheetahs, ocelots, servals, bobcats and lynx. It was started by Vicky Keahey 22 years ago, who was a vet tech that took in a cougar kitten abandoned at her vets office. She kept taking in big cats in need and now runs the sanctuary from her yard. The cats kept there are treated better than at most zoos and receive love and excellent care every single day.
The staff and volunteers at In-Sync are working above and beyond to give their cats vitamins and antibiotics to help them stay well enough to fight off the virus, but there is only so much money available to a non-profit. This is not the kind of website where I ask you to give money, ever, but this place is very dear to my heart and I owe them a lot. I dropped off ten gallons of bleach and a lot of ground turkey and calf liver over the weekend (different meats to help get the cats to take their medicine). If you want to help the cats of In-Sync you can donate online here, or find out more about what supplies they need dropped off here.