Check-up high as an elephant's eye for vet
By Western Morning News | Saturday, January 12, 2013, 06:30
An eye expert has given a four-tonne, 42 year-old patient the all-clear.
Duchess, Paignton Zoo's female African elephant, had an operation to remove cataracts in her left eye
Duchess, Paignton Zoo's female African elephant, had a cataract removed from her left eye in the autumn.
Now, consultant ophthalmologist Jim Carter from Abbotskerswell Veterinary Centre and South Devon Referrals has given her a clean bill of health.
He said: "I am extremely pleased with the way it has gone.
"We have now stopped all of her eye drops and, while you can never be definite on these matters, at this stage I don't expect to have any further problems with the eye."
In 2011, Duchess's right eye was removed because of glaucoma. Cataracts had left her with limited sight in her other eye.
The zoo's vets decided to operate on this eye after a routine check-up showed her remaining vision was deteriorating due to the formation of cataracts.
The zoo's head of veterinary services, Ghislaine Sayers, said: "A great deal of planning and consultation took place before this procedure. Duchess's welfare was our main consideration. We couldn't have achieved such a great result without the co-operation and help of many people, to whom we are extremely grateful."
Senior keeper Jim Dicks, who has cared for Duchess for many years, said: "I am absolutely over the moon. It couldn't have gone any better. Duchess can see so much more clearly now."
Meanwhile, a young male giraffe left the zoo yesterday.
Tonda, who will be three years old in February, is going to Chessington Zoo, part of Chessington World of Adventures, in Surrey.
Tonda was born to mother Janica and father Yoda in February, 2010.
At 4.3m in height he is now a young or sub-adult and ready to move on.