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Birmingham Zoo: 16-year-old African lion, Kwanza, diagnosed with lymphoma

Kwanza diagnosed with lymphoma
Kwanza diagnosed with lymphoma(Scott K., Lead Animal Care Professional in Predators)
Published: Nov. 18, 2021 at 6:25 PM CST
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - The Birmingham Zoo posted a sad update on their 16-year-old male African lion, Kwanza. Kwanza has been diagnosed with lymphoma and is undergoing veterinary treatment.

Zoo leaders said the Zoo’s Veterinary and Animal Care staff examined Kwanza to determine the cause for his decreased appetite and weight loss. During that exam the Veterinary team found enlarged lymph nodes. Further testing at an outside laboratory confirmed the presence of lymphoma, a common cancer in domestic cats that has also been observed in large cats such as lions and tigers.

But zoo leaders said treatment is not easy. Not only is it difficult to use intravenous chemotherapeutics due to the need for anesthesia, Kwanza also has had kidney disease since 2018.

Kwanza is being treated with a combination of a single injection of a chemotherapeutic drug and oral steroids. Feline lymphoma cannot be cured, so the goal is to slow progression and improve quality of life by reducing clinical signs.

The good news is Kwanza has already begun to improve and has regained his appetite after becoming anorexic in the beginning stages of his symptoms.

Zoo guests can visit both Kwanza and female lion Akili at their outdoor habitat in Trails of Africa across from the Predator building, but know that Kwanza will be on and off the habitat behind the scenes as his treatment progresses.

AFRICAN LION UPDATE: Friends and Supporters, our 16-year-old male African lion, Kwanza, has been diagnosed with lymphoma...

Posted by The Birmingham Zoo on Thursday, November 18, 2021

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