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!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Gorilla, Josephine is Discovering Her New World After Eye Surgery

Miami MetroZoo tells us that Josephine, the gorilla who underwent eye surgery to remove two cataracts on Saturday, is "doing great." The aging gorilla was nearly blind before veterinary and medical specialists donated the surgery.

Ron Magill, the communications and media director for the zoo, described "one of the most magical, heartwarming moments I have ever experienced in my 30 years at the zoo" when Josephine emerged from her house:

"She came out for the first time yesterday and was amazed at everything around her that she hadn’t been able to see for such a long time," Magill said in an e-mail.

Magill took the photo at right.

"She was staring at a tiny twig in her hand with an amazed look as she began to rediscover her world! Just look at her eyes, how they are focused on the tiny twig. She appears to be in absolute awe! Thanks to the incredible work of a dedicated team, a new light has been turned on in this endangered gorilla’s life."

While rare, the procedure has been done before, at zoos in Dallas and Salt Lake City. Here's how the surgery was conducted, according to the Miami Herald:

From the moment that handlers zinged the three-foot-six Josephine with a tranquilizer dart until her return to her straw-lined night house, she lost three hours — and regained the vision of her youth.
Before surgery, she couldn't tell a cantaloupe from a cabbage. Now she'll have the primate equivalent of 20-20 vision, said Dr. Frank Spektor, the Kendall, Fla., ophthalmologist who adapted a procedure he performs 50 times a month to the needs of a gorilla.
With 32 years' experience, Spektor, 59, still finds every cataract case “a challenge, because it's always unpredictable, never routine.”
All the more so with the brown-eyed Josephine, given her bony facial structure and distinctive scent: urine and body odor, with a hint of gorilla breath.
Spektor and his team, which included zoo vet Dr. Christine Miller, Dr. Tim J. Cutler and Dr. Lorraine Karpinski — veterinary ophthalmologists who have done cataract surgery on dogs, cats, horses, even birds — had examined Josephine last month.
They found her in good health for an aging ape — the oldest captive gorilla lived to 55 — but nearly immobilized by her poor sight.
At 10:02, attendants hoisted the sleeping gorilla onto the operating table.
Spektor and Cutler scrubbed, draped Josephine with a plastic sheet, then went to work on her left eye.
Because the cataract was so thick and milky, the membrane covering it like plastic wrap wasn't easy to see. In a procedure more common with dogs than people, according to Cutler, they injected blue dye into the membrane for contrast.
That made it easier to cut a tiny round hole in the membrane through which they'd extract the cataract then insert the replacement lens.
A machine, operated by a foot pedal, injects fluid and ultrasound vibrations into the eye, emulsifying the cataract — “turns it into a milkshake,” Cutler said — then vacuums out the goo.
At 10:55, after inserting the lens then closing the hole with a single nylon suture, the doctors declared themselves done with the first eye.
They re-scrubbed, repeated the procedure on Josephine's right eye, and at 11:44 finally seemed to exhale.
“Perfect,” Cutler said. “Fantastic.”
“Exhilarating,” Spektor said, “and exhausting.”


No comments:

Post a Comment