Wild Family - Himuti - Mexican Wolf M943

Heavenly bear for Wild Family

Updates on Himuti

April 13, 2016 ~ Himuti is gone.  We said our sad farewells on April 4th.

Learn what he meant to us here at the sanctuary and how he contributed to the conservation of Mexican wolves by clicking here to visit his page.





August 3, 2015  ~ Earlier this year when we announced that iconic Mexican wolf M943, Himuti, had been diagnosed with a rare form of cancer we were surprised and pleased at the support and encouragement we received.

So, you’d probably like to know how Himuti’s doing now.  He’s doing really well!  He lost a lot of weight after the surgery and during recovery, but his appetite is terrific, so he’s bounced back to a healthy weight. 

Most of the wolves are very cautious and refuse to eat anything that smells “different,” so they’re notoriously hard to give medicine to, but not Himuti!  That big appetite makes him a great patient.  His daily round of medication is as easy as offering him a meatball.

You would hardly know, looking at Himuti now, that he was so seriously ill just a few months ago.  Our hope is to be able to give him happy days and a full belly for a long time to come! 


March 16, 2015  ~ Special needs animals at the sanctuary benefit the most from the monthly support of our Wild Family participants.  These animals require more time, attention and specialized care to heal physically and emotionally.  Occasionally, in spite of our best efforts, healing isn’t possible.   Handsome Mexican wolf Himuti, M943, needs that special care now. 

Himuti and his mate Alicia

When his mate, Alicia, died suddenly last November, Himuti waited a few days and then began mourning her loss.  His distinctive, lonely howls floated throughout the sanctuary, unaccompanied by the other wolves. 

Within 3 weeks Himuti refused to finish his meals, and suspecting he suffered from more than a broken heart, he was brought in for a checkup.

Initial blood work showed an infection, but further tests indicated abnormalities in the abdomen.  Dr. Nick Robl volunteered his skills to perform an exploratory surgery which found ulcerations on the small intestine through which stomach contents had spilled into the abdomen.  Dead tissue was removed and the ulcers were sutured closed.  Dr. Robl also noted a mass near the pancreas.  It was a long and delicate surgery. 

The next 48 hours were critical.  Himuti was very ill.  Dr. Robl and veterinarian Dr. Marlene Tremblay stayed with Himuti day and night to monitor his condition, treat the infection and provide life-sustaining fluids. 

Himuti was critically ill

Miraculously, Himuti survived those two days, but he was far from well.  A barium study showed that food and medication wasn’t moving beyond the stomach.  The doctors couldn’t know what was preventing movement without a follow-up surgery.  Another surgery would be hard on Himuti, but without intervention, he could die.  Since it was possible that surgery would require complicated and delicate transplants, Dr. Robl scheduled an emergency surgery with a Board-Certified Veterinary Surgeon, Dr. Lillian Rizzo at the Veterinary Surgery Center of Arizona.  Himuti and Dr. Robl made the drive across town to the surgery center.

Finally, good news!  Dr. Robl and Dr. Rizzo found no blockage and, even better, they found good healing, so no additional surgery was necessary.  A medication was prescribed which successfully pushed things along through the intestines.  Dr. Rizzo biopsied the mass near the pancreas and we waited for results.

On the day following the second surgery Himuti sat up for the first time in many days.  Although he was being fed through a tube, he was doing his best to recover.  This wolf is a fighter!

Then the devastating news arrived.  The biopsy report revealed a “highly malignant endocrine carcinoma.”  As Dr. Robl explains it, “we suspect this cancer is secreting gastrin, which promotes the release of gastric acid, which subsequently caused two ulcers in his duodenum (the first part of the small intestine immediately after the stomach).  The name of this condition is Zollinger-Ellison Syndrome and it’s very rare in dogs and I don’t know if [it] has ever been documented in a wolf… .”

Himuti back outside but still fragile

For several weeks in December, Himuti remained in the clinic, recovering from the perforation and surgeries with the help of antibiotics, pain medication, antacids, and anti-vomiting medication.  Each day he improved and became more difficult to treat – a great sign that he was feeling better. 

Unfortunately, according to Dr. Robl, “the endocrine carcinoma remains and removing the mass would be unrewarding as the biopsy indicated that the cancer is already in the lymphatics, meaning that it is spreading.  Chemotherapy generally doesn't work for this situation either.”   Survival time for the type of cancer Himuti has been diagnosed with varies from a range of weeks to two years.


Happily, Himuti was well enough to go back outside at the end of December.  He had lost a lot of weight, and his digestive system remained fragile, so finely ground, low fat meat was purchased specially for him at the grocery store, running into hundreds of dollars a week.  His diet is transitioning gradually back to the ground carnivore diet he was accustomed to and his appetite is terrific. 

The sunshine, twice-daily meals, medicine to minimize acid secretion from the tumor, and the company of neighboring wolves have been healing for Himuti.  His weight is returning and he is getting stronger by the day. 

Himuti's feeling so much better these days!

For this special wolf, and for all the animals in our care, life is sometimes much shorter than we would choose if we had a say in the matter. 

We don’t get to choose. 

Himuti will continue to receive the best care possible until he lets us know that the quality of his life isn’t what it should be.  Until then, we’ll make sure he lives every day with the dignity he deserves!  



Big thanks to Nick Robl, DVM and Marlene Tremblay, DVM for their generous donations of time, skill and care, and to Lillian B. Rizzo, DVM, for her surgical skills.  Special thanks also to Russell T. Greene, DVM, PhD, with Phoenix Veterinary Internal Medicine Services, for providing life-saving ultrasound services, and for the generous donation from Dr. Greene and his coworkers towards Himuti’s care. 


Read a story of Himuti’s wolf family.

See a video of Himuti and his former mate, Alicia, playing.

A howling tribute to Alicia.


Click to return to the Wild Family page and meet the other animals being helped by our Wild Family monthly donors.