Donate US

 photo cub_buttonUSA_zps260251ee.png  photo cub_buttonAllOther_zps266319dc.png

Saturday, 18 February 2012

A Sad Day for CCF

At CCF we strive to keep all of our captive cheetahs healthy and “happy,” providing the best quality of life possible for our animals. Klein came to CCF on17 May, 2001, when he was about a year old. In July 2009, he developed some mysterious lesions on his left legs, both the front and the back. As anyone who has followed his story via the CCF blog and through being at CCF is aware, this mysterious skin condition was eventually diagnosed as Herpes Viral Dermatitis. Herpes virus is species-specific, meaning cats get cat Herpes and humans get human Herpes, etc. Herpes virus in cats usually causes an upper respiratory infection, ocular discharge, nasal congestion, and sometimes skin lesions around the eyes and nose and in the mouth. Klein has been a unique case all along, with moderate to severe lesions on his left legs instead of around his nose and eyes.

In order to try and help Klein, CCF contacted experts around the globe since the problem developed. We consulted with zoo veterinarians, veterinary pathologists, veterinarians who specifically work with cheetahs in the wild and in captivity, and numerous pharmacologists, virologists and specialists from both human and veterinary medicine. We tried all of the therapies that have been recommended, and over the years had varied success in improving the lesions on his legs. With more intensive therapy, the lesions improve; when we try to “leave him be” and not anesthetise him for treatments, the lesions worsen.

With the help and input of all these experts, and with the unfaltering dedication of the CCF medical and husbandry team, Klein has been handled with expertise and compassion. He has received every treatment that has been recommended, often multiple times. He improves and then he worsens. Unfortunately, his ongoing skin problem was caused by a virus that his immune system could not beat; a virus that has showed itself to be challenging (to say the least) to manage, a virus that led to ulcerated lesions on the skin of his left legs that came and went depending on the intensity of treatment.

Starting in October 2011 the CCF’s vet team started very intensive treatment of Klein, in hopes of once and for all healing the skin lesion so he could have some time to be a “normal” cheetah. He was 12 years old, suffering also from chronic kidney disease, and diagnosed with a suspected cancer of the left anal gland. We anesthetised him every 4 to 10 days for cryotherapy, bandage changes, and intensive supportive care. His skin lesions improved, and everyone was encouraged despite the fact that we were not happy having to anesthetise him so often. We were hopeful that once we got things under control, we could stop his frequent treatments and he would have some time to live a normal life without Herpes skin disease. However, as soon as this intensive treatment stopped, new, aggressive, spreading skin wounds reappeared.

Yesterday, 17 February 2012, Klein was anesthetised for another cryotherapy treatment of new, ulcerated skin lesions on his left front and hind legs. We collected his urine and it was dark and bloody, indicating decreased kidney function. His anal gland was was thickened and enlarged, consistent with progression of the cancer. New lesions were found on his legs --no matter how hard we were chasing this disease, the Herpes was winning the race.

Everyone at CCF loved Klein with all their hearts, which is why the decision to euthanise him was so difficult and heart-wrenching. We want to think that he has gone to a better place, to run in the African bushveld in the sky, where there are plenty of antelope to eat, where there is no Herpes, and where there is no pain and suffering. Klein will live forever in our hearts, as he himself had the strongest heart, fighting his disease bravely until the end. We did not want him to feel any more pain, and we wish him all the best on his onward journey to another life.

Goodbye Klein, we love you.

Gaby and all the CCF staff


  1. So sorry, but I am sure you made the right decision and he is in a better place where he can run free forever.. Playing God sucks because we are such imperfect gods.

  2. As tough as the decision was, he has no more pain and you saved him from even more. Goodbye, my beautiful boy. It's been an honor being your 'adoptive daddy' all these years. Rest in peace.

  3. Alice H11:14 pm

    I went on a workup on Klein in December and with all his health problems and this herpes on his poor legs, we can really say about him "rest in peace" now. He was a beautiful cheetah, but he's in peace now. Kisses to you Gaby and Rosie and all CCF team from Anne-France

  4. So sad! This story brought a lump to my throat and tears to my eyes, but I also believe it was the best decision possible under the circumstances, and I do believe our animal brothers and sisters also enjoy a peaceful, wonderful afterlife in Spirit. Now he can be a guardian angel to all the other cheetahs being helped by CCF!

  5. Anonymous12:53 pm

    Klein, I saw you in April 2010, CCF have done the best they could for you, I am sure. Now you rests in peace amongst all your free cheetah friends. You can observe us working for your so marvellous and amazing beauty specie. You can watch us taking care of your friends who are with us on Earth. Please, Klein, be lenient with us, we are only human!
    Brigitte - France

  6. Although I live in Hong Kong, but I feel so sorry for the cheetah leave the world! Every staffs had done the good job, keep up your good working!

  7. So sorry for your loss but grateful for all that you do. Wishing peace for everyone that knew and was affected by Klein.