The Idaho Falls Zoo reports its adult male red panda named Winston passed away Tuesday night during emergency surgery.
The surgery was to correct a gastric dilatation/volvulus that had rapidly developed that evening.
Gastric dilatation/volvulus is a condition where the stomach rapidly dilates then twists. It is normally seen in large, deep-chested dogs, and the condition deteriorates quickly.
There are only two reports of this condition seen in red pandas with no known cause.
Winston became ill at closing time Tuesday, was treated at the zoo and then transferred to the Idaho Falls Veterinary Emergency Clinic where surgery was done to try to return the stomach to its normal anatomic position.
Unfortunately, the deteriorated condition of the stomach would not have sustained life, and the difficult decision was made to euthanize him.
“This condition has been rarely seen in other species, and the causes have not been determined. We hope to learn more after a necropsy has been completed,” said zoo veterinarian Dr. Rhonda Aliah.
Winston was eight years old and came to Idaho Falls earlier this year from Zoo Boise to be paired with the female red panda, Delilah, as part of the red panda Species Survival Plan (SSP).
Winston and Delilah are the parents to little Marvin who is the first red panda to be born at the Idaho Falls Zoo.
The Idaho Falls Zoo is working with the red panda SSP to identify a new match for Delilah.