2 big cats die of distemper at Texas sanctuary

July 15, 2013 4:05:43 PM PDT
A North Texas animal sanctuary has an outbreak of canine distemper that's killed a 12-year-old tiger named Apollo and a 17-year-old lion called Layla.

Officials with In-Sync Exotics Wildlife Rescue and Education Center in Wylie say 20 other big cats have symptoms ranging from runny noses to seizures.

Center spokeswoman Lisa Williams said Monday that the male tiger died July 7. The lioness died July 9.

Wildlife officials are working with veterinarians to deal with the outbreak.

Williams says medical bills have been expensive and monetary donations would be welcome. Supporters can also donate blankets, towels and cleaning supplies such as bleach to the center located about 20 miles northeast of Dallas.

Experts believe the canine distemper was transmitted by wild raccoons.

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