Hope For Paralysed Lion After Facebook Plea
12:09pm UK, Thursday July 14, 2011
A lion suffering from paralysis in all four of its legs could walk again after Facebook users donated thousands of pounds to help pay for his treatment.
Ariel can only lie on a mattress, his limbs supported by toilet rolls
Ariel, who is three years old, suffers from a degenerative disease, similar to multiple sclerosis, which causes his immune system to attack itself.
The condition has left him unable to use his legs and he is only able to lie on a mattress, his limbs supported by packs of toilet rolls.
Vet Livia Pereira is currently caring for the lion at her home in Sao Paulo, Brazil, with the help of the creature's owner Raquel Borges.
However, an internet and Facebook campaign originally set up to inform people of Ariel's progress is now helping to pay his £7,135 monthly medical bill.
It has brought in so much money, it could also pay for life-changing treatment.
Ms Pereira and Ms Borges said they had received an offer from a Brazilian doctor to perform the blood-cleansing treatment plasmapheresis on Ariel.
Israeli veterinary neurologists also flew to Brazil to perform extensive tests on the creature, a trip paid for by donations.
Vet Livia Pereira kisses Ariel
Ms Borges said: "When the Facebook campaign began in May, we had less than five followers, because it was designed to inform people of Ariel's case, not to ask for help.
"But then we started asking for donations and the number of people following Ariel's case soared."
She said Ariel was born in the shelter she and her husband run in the southern city of Maringa, where they care for sick or abandoned animals.
"He was a perfectly normal and docile lion that slept with me until he was 10 months old," Ms Borges said.
But last year Ariel started limping and within days he was unable to move his two hind legs. After surgery to remove a herniated disc he was unable to move his front legs.
"He was submitted to a battery of tests and medical examinations that failed to show what was wrong with him, so three weeks ago we brought him to Sao Paulo where there are better-equipped veterinary clinics," Ms Borges said.
"One thing we will never lose is our hope that Ariel will recover and start walking again," she added.
Visit Ariel's website here and his Facebook page here.