The four-year-old Royal Bengal tigress Puja, who died on February 4 at the Sanjay Gandhi National Park (SGNP) was suffering from septicemia, also known as blood poisoning, since September 2014.
According to the post-mortem report that was recently released, the tigress had been suffering from an infection that developed at the base of her tail for the past several months.
Several puss-filed wounds had developed all over her body, officials said. Leukemia, however, was ruled out.
“As soon as one wound was treated, another wound appeared either on the belly or near the tail. Since November, Puja was suffering from skin problems on her tail, abdomen and buttocks. At the time of death, she had several puss-filled wounds on her body,” said Vikas Gupta, director and chief conservator of SGNP.
Gupta added, “The infection had spread into her fat, which did not allow medicines to act on the tigress.”
Septicemia or blood poisoning is a life-threatening infection, which deteriorates quickly. It can start with infections throughout the body, including lungs, abdomen, and urinary tract.
SGNP had appointed a technical advisory committee, including doctors from Bombay Veterinary College along with SGNP Veterinary Doctor and other forest officials, who were looking into Puja’s case on an everyday basis.
“At first, we thought the infections seemed like signs of Leukemia. As her white blood cell count was constantly increasing, none of our medicines worked on her,” said Dr Sanjiv Pinjarkar, SGNP veterinarian.
The tigress had stopped eating two days before her death and had several wounds on her body. Puja was born on November 27, 2011, at SGNP to Basanti and Palash, kept at the park’s safari enclosure.