Jan. 5, 2023
Story by Molly Rosbach | Photos by Jens Odegaard
(Originally published as an OSU news release)
After diagnostic testing at Oregon State University’s veterinary hospital, 6-year-old Amur tiger Bernadette from the Oregon Zoo is back to her healthy, playful self, zoo staff say.
“Bernie” was taken to the Lois Bates Acheson Veterinary Teaching Hospital at OSU’s Carlson College of Veterinary Medicine in the fall to find the cause of a seizure she experienced over the summer. Zoo veterinarians and care staff were concerned the 270-pound tiger might have epilepsy and wanted to determine the best course of treatment, so they transported her to Corvallis for testing.
At OSU, she received an MRI to scan for brain abnormalities, along with an ultrasound of her abdomen and a spinal tap to check for other potential areas of concern.
Bernie’s medical issues began in early summer, when she was feeling “punky” and displaying a low appetite, lead tiger keeper Megan Hagedorn of the Oregon Zoo said. Zoo staff fitted her with a glucose monitor and diagnosed transient diabetes, for which she was treated orally until her blood-glucose levels stabilized.
However, in July, she had a seizure. She was unsteady on her feet and took a couple hours to recover, and zoo staff wondered whether other similar incidents might have gone unseen.
Bernie was put on anti-seizure medication and monitored closely. Signs around her habitat marked it a “quiet zone” so zoo guests could understand what was going on and alert keepers if they noticed anything amiss.