An adult male white Bengal tiger (Panthera tigris tigris) with pronounced atrophy of the pelvic musculature was diagnosed with degenerative osteoarthritis of the coxofemoral joints. Initial management with the nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug meloxicam and a semisynthetic sodium pentosan polysulfate resulted in clinical improvement and radiographic stabilization of the arthritic condition over several months. However, because pain was still evident, bilateral denervation of the coxofemoral joints was performed, successfully ameliorating the signs of osteoarthritic pain in the tiger. Meloxicam has shown good clinical efficacy for the treatment of osteoarthritis and other painful conditions in large felids. Coxofemoral joint denervation offers many advantages for the treatment of osteoarthritis in exotic carnivore species, and should be considered a viable treatment modality.
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Vol. 37 • No. 3