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14-year-old red panda diagnosed with cancer at Henry Vilas Zoo in Madison

After a CT scan at the UW Vet School, zoo officials learned Tai's bones had changes consistent with a type of cancer called multiple myeloma or "plasma cell tumor."
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Posted at 10:39 PM, Aug 23, 2022

MADISON, Wis. — The Henry Vilas Zoo's 14-year-old red panda named Tai has been diagnosed with cancer, the zoo announced on Facebook Tuesday morning.

The zoo said it began to notice a change in Tai shortly after the arrival of a young red panda named Bandit. Bandit is 12 years younger than Tai.

Tai was given medication and separated from Bandit to give her some space to recuperate, the zoo says. Tai lacked improvement and eventually became less interested in her food.

After a CT scan at the UW Vet School, zoo officials learned Tai's bones had changes consistent with a type of cancer called multiple myeloma or "plasma cell tumor."

"There isn’t a lot of information about how this cancer could progress in a red panda, but there is literature that indicates that dogs and cats can respond well to chemotherapy and steroids," the zoo said on Facebook. "Tai had a couple more tests done last week to determine the appropriate type of chemotherapy to administer and we were able to give her some special medication to strengthen her weakened bones."

Tai will be treated at the zoo's Animal Health Center as she goes through chemo.

"While we are devastated by this diagnosis, we are so appreciative for the amazing support we receive from our UW Special Species vets and are grateful for all of the expertise we have access to with the other UW Vet departments," Henry Vilas Zoo said.

To read the full announcement from the Henry Vilas Zoo, head to their Facebook page.

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