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3rd Big Cat Dies At North Texas Animal Sanctuary

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WYLIE (CBSDFW.COM/AP) — Canine distemper has claimed the life of a third big cat at an animal sanctuary in Wylie.

A spokeswoman for In-Sync Exotics Wildlife Rescue and Education Center says a male tiger named Abrams died Monday. Lisa Williams says a 12-year-old male tiger named Apollo and a 17-year-old lioness called Layla died earlier this month.

More than 20 exotic cats at the center have been diagnosed with canine distemper in recent weeks. Symptoms range from runny noses to seizures.

Owner Vicky Keahey said the park’s veterinarians initially recommended that her more than 60 tigers and lions not be vaccinated for canine distemper.  She said she was told by several animal professionals her tigers and lions were not at risk for the disease.

Wildlife officials are working with veterinarians on the outbreak. Experts believe the canine distemper was transmitted by wild raccoons.

(©2013 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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