Sanctuary cares for lion with rare genetic disorder

Kirstin Delgado reports

- He roars like lion and he eats like a lion. But Lucious isn't the average one-year-old cub.  The lovable 130 pound, 1-year-old big cat has a genetic disorder that effects his motor skills and his ability to walk.

"He has his days where he's barely wobbling at all, and then he has other days where he looks like a person with ms where he shakes," says Christin Burford, founder of The Care Foundation, based out of Apopka, Florida.

The foundation is a donation-based animal sanctuary.  Burford's home is inside the sanctuary and she keeps Lucious inside the house, because he can't be with other lions.
His treatment isn't cheap either, so now she is looking for funds to offset her costs. 

The disorder causes his skull and brain to develop at different speeds. 

"It's basically pressing on the area of the brain that takes care of the motor skills, and in addition to that, some of the vertebrae in his neck are disfigured," she explained.  "He's on steroids to help the swelling of the spinal cord. He gets high doses of vitamin A shots once a week, and as he grows, hopefully his skull will grow a little faster, so the pressure on the brain won't be as bad."

Burford has had Lucious since he was three months old.  She is the only mother Lucious has known. The now in-door cat will be about 500 pounds as an adult lion, so he'll soon have an outdoor enclosure on the property.

"He's like having a big goofy dog in the house.  He's like the perfect house lion if you ever heard of such a thing."

You can learn more about The Care Foundation here.  To learn about how to help, click here.
 

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