Reindeer Star died from bacterial infection

Posted: Wednesday, October 02, 2002

ANCHORAGE (AP) -- A bacterial infection similar to tetanus killed the little reindeer Star last month, the last in a long line of reindeer that lived in the fenced yard of a downtown Anchorage home.

A necropsy revealed that the fawn died of clostridium sordellii, said her main handler, Albert Whitehead. Animals like reindeer, cattle and sheep are more vulnerable to the infection, said Dr. Phil Meyer, a Wasilla-based veterinarian who also owns two reindeer.

Animals usually get it from food that has touched infected dirt, he said.

Star, who charmed tourists and locals from her mesh cage on 10th Avenue and I Street, was the fifth in a series of reindeer named Star owned by the late Oro and Ivan Stewart. The Stewarts had kept a reindeer at their home since 1960. Ivan Stewart died in 1986 while Oro, 85, died last month of congestive heart failure.

Star was healthy when she arrived from Nome in July, but she suddenly became sick and died Sept. 7, said Whitehead.

''It just happens,'' Meyer said.

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