Sam the koala made headline news all over the world when she was rescued during Australia’s devastating wildfires this year. As the fires raged, Sam was gingerly making her way on scorched paws past a fire patrol north of Melbourne when one of the firefighters spotted her. The firefighter was photographed holding a bottle of water to her lips, an image that resonated around the world.

When Vet Dr John Butler undertook exploratory surgery for an ovarian cysts it was discovered that the disease was well advanced and was inoperable. It was decided that was in Sam’s best interests that she be euthanized. The 4-year-old koala had developed the cysts associated with urogenital chlamydiosis, which affects more than 50 percent of Australia’s koala population. It was not known whether Sam had the infection before the fire. The disease, one of the main killers of the koala, is brought on by stress.

Australia Wildfires

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