The Little Rock Zoo

.The Little Rock Zoo needs to step up and care for the animals better! Please read the several artciles here with deaths, sickness and a bald chimp!

Friday, October 2, 2009

42 YO Lowland Gorilla, Josephine Will Undergo Eye Surgery

MIAMI (CBS4) ― A lowland gorilla at Miami's Metrozoo will be going through surgery Friday to remove severe cataracts and implant new lenses in each of her eyes. Right now, the animal is practically blind – left only seeing light, dark and shadows.

This state-of-the-art procedure may be done daily on humans and even commonly in dogs and horses, but it's a rarity in the wild animal kingdom; it's been performed less than a dozen times on gorillas.

The latest in cataract surgery technology has been carefully moved from Palm Beach Veterinary Specialists operating room in West Palm Beach, Florida and reassembled especially for the surgery.

Josephine will be immobilized with a dart Saturday morning at about 9:00. Assuming the tranquilizer takes effect properly, she will be transported to the hospital at about 9:30, where she will be weighed and then intubated for general anesthesia.

The surgery should begin at approximately 10:00 a.m. and is expected to take approximately 90 minutes for both eyes to have the cataracts removed and the new lenses implanted.

Josephine is 42 years old; a senior citizen by gorilla standards, as life expectancy is rarely above 50. Her age is suspected to be a major factor in the severity of the cataracts. The riskiest part of the procedure will be the anesthesia.

"Though Josephine's advanced age brings a significant risk to this procedure, the possibility of restoring Josephine's eyesight outweighed those risks," Metrozoo spokesperson Ron McGill explained. "Our commitment is to provide our animals the best quality of life possible and this surgery is an admirable and dedicated effort towards that commitment."

If all goes well, Josephine could be back on exhibit Saturday.

Dr. Christine Miller, Metrozoo's Chief Veterinarian, will be in charge of immobilizing Josephine and keeping her stable throughout the procedure. Dr. Frank Spektor, a medical ophthalmologist from the Center for Excellence in Eye Care will be the lead surgeon for the cataract removal and implant procedure. He will be assisted by Dr. Tim J. Cutler, a veterinary ophthalmologist from Palm Beach Veterinary Specialists who specializes in veterinary lens implants and cataract surgery, and Dr. Lorraine Karpinski, a veterinary ophthalmologist from Pinecrest Veterinary Hospital who has performed a variety of eye procedures on different animals at Metrozoo in the past.


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