Four days after she arrived, Sheila was fading fast. She was now vomiting, continued to be lethargic, and was laying flat on the ground. We feared the worst, but never gave up on Sheila and continued providing round the clock care to save her.
The USDA had told us that Sheila showed signs of vitamin A deficiency, but through our own research, we found that toxoplasmosis had the same symptoms as vitamin A deficiency, except for one additional symptom. Animals suffering from toxoplasmosis often exhibit constant circling, which Sheila displayed when she attempted to walk. With this new finding, we immediately started Sheila on clindamycin.
Two days later, she was walking around. Four days later, she was eating and swallowing. After a week, she was gaining weight and playing happily. We began breathing a little easier, overjoyed that this brave girl seemed to be on the mend. Test results came back and confirmed toxoplasmosis and a severe vitamin A deficiency. Sheila continued to improve every day with the proper medication, nutrition, and lots of love. She is now a happy, healthy, and beautiful white lioness. She shows no ill-effects of either condition aside from occasional circling and a slight tic, nystagmus, in her eyes. She is at a healthy weight, regained muscle control, swallows easily, and runs and plays.
Sheila’s unique coloring is the result of a recessive gene called “chinchilla” or “color-inhibitor” and is only found in the wild in the Kruger subspecies of lion which is unique to the Timbavati region of South Africa.