Specialist eye veterinary surgeon saves the eye of a tiger suffering from a corneal ulcer

A specialist eye veterinarian decided that a 17-year-old Sumatran tiger, Ratna, had injured her left eye when, perhaps, it had been jabbed by a stick of bamboo in her enclosure. Sometime earlier she had had a cataract operation on the eye but in this instance, it was a first. Apparently, cataract operations on tigers are not that uncommon but it was a first to remedy a corneal ulcer and a deteriorating eye.

Ratna a Sumatran tiger with corneal ulcer in her left eye
Ratna a Sumatran tiger with corneal ulcer in her left eye. Photo: Shepreth Wildlife Park

The surgeon is Dr. David Williams from the Queen's Veterinary School Hospital at the University of Cambridge. After two months of post-operation monitoring, he declared that he was delighted with the outcome and that he was able to "sign Ratna off".

The eye has fully healed. Corneal surgery is not uncommon on domestic cats and dogs but it requires a lot more anaesthetic on an adult tiger, for obvious reasons. Ratna lives it Shepreth Wildlife Park near Cambridge, UK. She was moved to the park in early 2019. 

The age of 17 is a very good age for a tiger although captive tigers have lived for as long as 26 years and 20 years is not uncommon apparently. That information comes from the book Wild Cats of the World. The oldest female to give birth in captivity gave birth to a single cub at the Rotterdam Zoo at 17 years of age. In the wild, the lifespan of tigers is certainly much shorter and a female would do well to reach 14 or 15.


Popular posts from this blog

What do tigers eat in the jungle?

Mythology in China - Bai Hu (white tiger)

Can tigers meow?