‘World first’ as Cambridge vet saves tiger’s eye

'World first' as Cambridge vet saves tiger's eye
The tiger's left eye was deteriorating before the surgery. Source: SHEPRETH WILDLIFE PARK
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Daily US Times: A tiger’s eye has been saved by a Cambridge surgeon in what is believed to be the first ever operation of its type in the world on a big cat.

The 17-year-old Sumatran tiger named Ratna lives at Shepreth Wildlife Park near Cambridge.

Staff of the park noticed her left eye – which had previously had a cataract removed – was deteriorating and a corneal ulcer was diagnosed by a specialist eye vet.

Corneal surgery, which is not uncommon on domestic dogs and cats, required “a lot more anaesthetic” on Ratna.

Surgeon Dr David Williams, from the Queen’s Veterinary School Hospital at the University of Cambridge, said after two months of careful observation, he was “delighted to be able to sign Ratna off” as fully healed.

The 17-year-old tiger had cataract surgery before she and her daughter were moved to the wildlife park in early 2019 to live out their twilight years.

Because the tiger needed daily eyedrops, the health of her left eye was being closely monitored by staff.

An initial operation carried out in early February to treat a discolouration, but didn’t have the desired effect and the tiger’s eye continued to deteriorate.

Dr Williams said: “I think perhaps she’d managed to jab her eye on a stick of bamboo in her enclosure.”

The very next day, together with Steve Philp, a vet from the International Zoo Veterinary Group, Dr Williams carried out what is believed to be a world-first operation on a big cat.

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