Polar Bear Succumbs to Kidney Disease

One of the Tulsa Zoo’s most popular arctic animals loses its battle with chronic kidney disease.
Following a worrisome change in appetite, the zoo’s male Polar Bear, Kavek, received an emergency medical exam where tests concluded his kidney disease had progressed dramatically. The bleak prognosis coupled with a quality-of-life concern prompted veterinary staff to humanely euthanize the senior-aged male bear.
Kavek, the Tulsa Zoo’s only Polar Bear, had been undergoing treatment since December for what Tulsa Zoo Veterinary Health staff had diagnosed as the onset of kidney disease.
“It is not unusual for carnivorous animals, like Polar Bears to develop kidney diseases as they grow older,” said Zoo Veterinarian, Dr. Kay Backues.
Kavek had been on and off-exhibit this past winter due to treatment of dermatitis, a secondary skin condition caused by his existing kidney disease. Since the disease lowered his body’s natural defenses, it triggered a secondary skin condition, not uncommon say Zoo Veterinary staff. After his skin condition had been successfully treated, he returned to public exhibit in March.
“While Kavek’s disease was degenerative, the decision to euthanize was very hard on all zoo staff, said Zoo Director, Terrie Correll; he was so beloved by our guests, as well as our own community of zoo employees.”
Tulsa Zoo invites our guests and our surrounding community to share their sympathies and condolences for Kavek on Tulsa Zoo’s official MySpace page at www.myspace.com/tulsazoo.

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