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Phoenix Zoo's Sumatran tiger Jai diagnosed with kidney disease at age 17

Posted at 10:23 AM, Jan 11, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-11 12:23:27-05

PHOENIX — Phoenix Zoo's longtime resident Sumatran tiger, Jai, has been diagnosed with kidney disease, the zoo announced Tuesday.

The 17-year-old tiger, who has been at Phoenix Zoo since 2005, was reportedly examined by veterinarians last week. The zoo says he started to eat less and drink more and was losing weight, which prompted the examination.

The zoo says chronic kidney disease is a common ailment in cat species of all types and can develop over time.

A 2018 study found Sumatran tigers have the highest percentage of kidney disease-related deaths of zoo cats.

"We are continuing to monitor Jai closely and hope his appetite may increase by offering him some special items to encourage him to eat," says Dr. Gary West, Senior Vice President of Animal Health and Living Collections at the Phoenix Zoo. "Unfortunately, renal disease and ultimately renal failure is common in big cats and there is no cure."

Jai is also being treated for a secondary infection found during tests.

The median life expectancy for Sumatran tigers is just under 18.5 years.