Magician’s tiger saved by rare surgery

Magician’s tiger saved by rare surgery
An illusionist had to have his tiger go under the knife. (Source: KBZK/Jay Owenhouse/CNN)

BELGRADE, MT (KBZK/CNN) – Illusionist Jay Owenhouse has toured the nation.

But his show was affected when one of his co-stars, a tiger, needed medical attention.

Magician’s tiger saved by rare surgery

Though they don’t look it, Sheena and Shekinah are twin sisters.

Owenhouse brought them home at just 12 weeks old, and has had them as part of his family ever since.

In February, he discovered Shekinah had gotten hurt while playing with her sister.

Owenhouse believed it was just a torn muscle, but it turned out to be a broken femur in three places.

"As we talked to animal and tiger experts around the world, they all said there's nothing you can do, you know,” Owenhouse said. “Surgery can’t be done for many different reasons. One is that a tiger will open their stitches for the incision that had to be made that large."

Owenhouse was determined to do whatever he needed for Shekinah to fully recover.

He found a team of doctors from Montana and Idaho, who took a chance and operated on the tiger.

"Our human orthopedic surgeon Dave, Dr. Dave … you know, he’d never seen a tiger, a real tiger before, much less operate on one," Owenhouse said.

Shekinah is fully healed and is returning to the show. Owenhouse said it wasn’t the same without her.

"It was hard, because she's been a part of the show for eight years,” he said. “What was interesting, which I didn't anticipate – it was actually, I think, harder on her than it was on the rest of us."

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