Swimmer syndrome in a clouded leopard (Neofelis Nebulosa) cub

Fernando Nájera, Janine Brown, Krystle Kaufman, Rick Schwartz, Karen Goodrowe, Wisit Asaithanmakul, Copper Aitken-Palmer, Urarikha Kongprom, David E. Wildt, Mitchell Bush

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A 32-day-old, hand-reared, captive-born female clouded leopard (Neofelis nebulosa) cub presented as being unable to stand, ambulate, or adduct both hind limbs. The cub exhibited hyperextension of both tarsal joints and a flattened thorax, which limited mobility to "swimmer-like" movements. Neither congenital defects nor neurologic deficits were observed during the medical examination. Radiographic examination showed the thorax was compressed dorsoventrally, but no other skeletal abnormalities were detected. Based on clinical signs, the condition was more consistent with swimmer syndrome, which has been described in young offspring of several domestic species. Over the course of 3 wk, affected limbs were treated by intensive physiotherapy, corrective bandages were applied, and thermotherapy was used to improve circulation, which resulted in a complete recovery and development of subsequent normal ambulation. It is concluded that early diagnosis and treatment of this condition led to the resolution of clinical signs, resulting in normal development of the clouded leopard cub reported here.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)386-388
Number of pages3
JournalJournal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2014


  • Clouded leopard
  • Neofelis nebulosa
  • cub
  • felid
  • swimmer syndrome.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • veterinary(all)


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