Lufkin zoo adult lion improving after health scare

Source: Ellen Trout Zoo
Source: Ellen Trout Zoo

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - Mashaka, the adult male lion at Ellen Trout Zoo, is recovering after undergoing treatment for a vascular lesion in his spinal cord, according to an email from the zoo director.

Director Gordon Henley said zoo workers found Mashaka down in his stall Thursday morning. Dr. Lindsay Syler of Angelina Animal Hospital examined him and suspected a brain or spinal lesion, but plain radiographs did not show any noticeable lesions.

Henley said bloodwork showed mild increases in his liver levels and mild dehydration, so they gave him fluids, antibiotics and liver supplements. Henley said he then shows some improvement the next day, but was still unable to move normally.

Gulf Coast Veterinary Specialists Neurology in Houston was able to provide an MRI for Mashaka on Friday and was able to find a vascular lesion at C5 in his spinal cord.

Henley said vascular lesions are reported in large cats and can respond to medical treatment.

Henley said Mashaka's bloodwork has returned to normal limits and he is in "good spirits" and undergoing treatments.

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