Tiger's leg had to be amputated after run-in with another tiger

 Petra (Dickerson Park Zoo)
Petra (Dickerson Park Zoo) (KY3)
Published: Sep. 16, 2016 at 6:02 PM CDT
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Dickerson Park Zoo’s veterinarian Dr. Rodney Schnellbacher and Bradford Park Veterinary Hospital surgeon Dr. Bert Shelley amputated the left front leg of Petra, a female Malayan tiger, at Dickerson Park Zoo.

Petra, and Bunga, a male tiger, were taking part in their daily, soft introduction training on Tuesday morning, according to Asia Zookeeper Jackson Thompson.

“Tigers are solitary animals,” Thompson said. “Our goal was to have both cats on exhibit in their own yards; however, the exhibit requires a shared fence line. During Tuesday morning’s training, the tigers came into contact with each other through the barrier. Following protocol our zookeeper staff did everything they could to separate them, but Petra’s front left paw was severely injured.”

Schnellbacher contacted Shelley, the only board certified surgeon in the area.

“After evaluating the injury, we came to the conclusion there was too much damage to the paw to salvage a useful limb. We elected to amputate the limb to give her the best outcome and the quickest recovery. The surgery went well, and the tiger recovered uneventfully from the anesthesia,” said Shelley.

"The tiger is doing well. She is on antibiotics and pain control, plus we are continually monitoring her quality of life," said Schnellbacher.

Petra is 16 years old and has been at Dickerson Park Zoo since 2004. Bunga is five years old and arrived last year.

Petra was already up and moving by Friday afternoon but she will remain off exhibit to give her time to heal and regain her strength.