Raquel Borges embraces her paralyzed lion Ariel at the living room of veterinarian Pereira's home in Sao Paulo July 20, 2011.
Pereira's home has turned into a hospital since the 3-year-old lion started a landmark treatment to cure a rare autoimmune disease which paralyzed his legs about a year ago. Through an internet campaign launched on social networking websites such as Facebook and Twitter, Borges has been managing to raise funds to pay for his $11,000 monthly hospital bills. Nearly 60,000 people have clicked on the like button on Facebook and hundreds of others made donations to two bank accounts linked to Borges' foundation aimed at helping abandoned animals.
The 310-pound (140-kg) lion started limping over one year ago prompting doctors to carryout a surgery to remove a herniated disc which they believed was causing the problem. But the procedure only made things worse and his rear legs were soon paralyzed as well. As Ariel grew weaker, Borges decided to turn to alternative methods such as chiropractic therapy and acupuncture.
According to Pereira, head of the team of vets who have been treating the lion, he has so far responded well to the procedures, according an interview with Reuters TV. Picture taken July 20, 2011.