The preliminary findings by Kansas State University during a necropsy on Luka, one of three cubs born at Rolling Hills Zoo, found that Luka suffered from subaortic stenosis, a serious condition that obstructed the flow of blood from his heart’s left ventricle.
According to the zoo, this serious condition was likely congenital and may have been present from birth. Further testing revealed that he had also contracted feline calicivirus, a virus that can cause upper respiratory problems and oral disease in cats. Since he was being examined for poor appetite and a possible oral pain, this would explain the causal agent.
K-State also tested for the SARS-COVID-2 virus, the virus that causes COVID-19 in humans, and the results were negative.
Luka passed away last Friday while undergoing an exam to address some dental issues he was experiencing which affected his ability to consume his diet.
Luka was one of three cubs born on August 14, 2019 at Rolling Hills Zoo. The other two are females, Sasha and Nadya. Following a successful birth, the three cubs had been fan favorites at the Zoo as guests watched them grow up and celebrate their first birthday this past month.
Weighing in at 250 pounds, Luka was known by his keepers as being the bravest and most curious of the three cubs, and always the first to check things out. Sasha, weighing 200 lbs. like her sister, was always right behind Luka as she tried to keep up with her brother, while Nadya would hang back and be the more cautious of the three.
The Zoo is continuing to monitor Luka’s siblings, Nadya and Sasha, and his parents, Andrea and Dhenuka, for calicivirus, and will administer supportive care if needed. Currently the tigers are behaving, eating and drinking normally.