A vet in the UK successfully performed what is believed to be the first corneal operation on a tiger and saved the animal’s eye.
BBC News reports A 17-year-old Sumatran tiger named Ratna who lives in Shepreth Wildlife Park near Cambridge has recovered from surgery to restore her eyesight.
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Ratna had a cataract removed from her left eye years before she and her daughter were brought to the wildlife park in 2019.
The staff had been watching the tiger’s eye closely because it needed eye drops every day, and found that Ratna’s eye was deteriorating when she developed a problem in her conjunctiva, the pink part of the eyeball.
It was found that she had a corneal ulcer.
“I think she may have managed to get a glimpse of a bamboo stick in her enclosure,” David Williams, a surgeon at Queen’s Veterinary School Hospital at Cambridge University, told the BBC.
She had an operation in February to treat the disease, but her eye kept getting worse.
The next day, Williams performed the first hood transplant procedure on a large cat with veterinarian Steve Philp of the International Zoo Veterinary Group.
The operation is not uncommon in domestic cats and dogs.
“It’s like doing it with any house cat – but with a lot more narcotics,” Williams told the BBC.
“But I don’t think anyone has ever done this to this species.”
Williams said Ratna’s eyesight was “not fantastic” after her first cataract surgery, but the idea of corneal surgery was to save the eye itself.
“We stopped the problem that was causing you pain,” he said.
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