Senior penguin undergoes groundbreaking cataract surgery


Some penguins received custom intraocular lens implants.This is a procedure believed to be the first to be performed on penguins

Singapore-based Mandai Wildlife Sanctuary recently announced successful cataract surgery for elderly penguins at Jurong Bird Park, including three King penguins and three Humboldt penguins. Surgery has helped improve their vision and quality of life.

According to the organization’s release,1 The surgery consisted of removing cloudy lenses caused by cataracts, a common age-related condition that affects vision in aged animals. The King Penguin also received a custom-made intraocular lens implant that included replacing the artificial lens in his eye. This is believed to be the world’s first procedure for penguins.

“We noticed that their lenses were fogging up and they were moving around making it difficult to see what was in front of them. Cataract surgery in animals is becoming more common and effective in restoring vision.” said Ellen Rasidi, veterinarian at Mandai Wildlife Group. “Working with our animal care team, we chose this procedure not only to help them transition to new homes at Bird Paradise when they move, but to enhance their overall well-being and well-being. We have seen an increase in reactivity and activity levels in the penguins since the recovery period, indicating they are more active and have improved vision, and also for the king penguins, who are using new lenses. It’s great to see them adapting well.”1

Animals that reach 70% of their lifespan are placed in the Senior Animal Care Plan. The Senior Animal Care Plan consists of more frequent health checks by our veterinary team and special diets to improve quality of life as they age. As part of the penguin’s care routine, Mandai Wildlife Group recruited veterinary ophthalmologist Gladys Boo, BVSc, BVMS (Hons), BSc, DAVCO from The Eye Specialist for Animals in August 2022, and has a senior I inspected the eyes of a colony of penguins. Penguin was diagnosed with cataracts.

After diagnosis, Boo performed cataract surgery on a penguin patient in December 2022 with the assistance of Mandai Wildlife Group’s veterinary team. Keepers administering eye drops to her twice a day restores the colony.

“The success of these surgeries is a milestone in veterinary medicine. Intraocular lens implants are common in humans and some domesticated animals, but this is probably the first time they have been successful in penguins,” Boo said. stated in the release.

“Being a large species, king penguins have large eyes that are stable enough to hold custom lenses in place. The lenses were custom-made in Germany to fit each penguin’s eye, based on precise measurements taken beforehand, and took about two months to create. Cataract surgery is itself a delicate operation, but in the case of penguins, the surgery was made difficult by special characteristics, such as the third eyelid, which protects the eye in water. They tend to close up, which can make it difficult to access their eyeballs, and we are glad that we were able to solve these challenges to improve the lives of these animals.”1

Two months after the operation, the penguin has fully recovered and is back with the rest of the colony at Jurong Bird Park before moving on.

reference

After successful cataract surgery, a senior penguin’s vision was hailed as a milestone in veterinary medicine. news release. Mandai Nature Reserve. March 14, 2023. Accessed March 16, 2023. -a-milestone-in-veterinary-medicine.html



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