Camden vets help tiger’s long road to recovery

Indira the Bengal tiger has a long road to recovery ahead of her.

The 96kg feline had her first check up on Saturday after undergoing major eye surgery at the University Veterinary Teaching Hospital Camden in April.

University of Sydney specialist opthamologists Kelly Caruso and Cameron Whittaker performed eye surgery on the big cat.

The surgery allowed them to fit the friendly tiger with special lenses made in Germany.

The 20-year-old tiger, who appeared in 1997 hit movies George of the Jungle and Anaconda, had surgery to correct her eye condition known as strabismus.

The condition causes an abnormal alignment of the tiger’s eyes.

The former star of the silver screen had been struggling to find her food and would constantly bump into things in her home at Zambi Wildlife Retreat in Wallacia.

Zambi Wildlife Retreat’s veterinarians had noticed Indira’s eyesight had been deteriorating over the past few years.

Indira was hand-raised and trained by one of Zambi Wildlife Retreat’s directors, Donna Wilson.

Ms Wilson said it had been difficult to watch the animal’s eyesight decline. 

“She is an exceptionally friendly tiger and is the most playful animal at the retreat, regardless of her poor vision,” Ms Wilson said.

“She still loves to play with her ball even though she can’t see very well.”

Ms Wilson said she was told the tiger had only six months before she would be completely blind, so the vets offered to operate on the big cat.

“We had to see if we could save her eyesight but it will take a long time to heal,” she said.

“There is some vision in her left eye already.

“I’m hopeful, so even if she only gets 30 per cent of her vision back I will be happy.”

After the surgery Zambi Wildlife Retreat praised the University Veterinary Teaching Hospital – this time at the Camden clinic - for opening its doors and the dedicated team of veterinary professionals who offered to perform the delicate and very expensive surgery.

Zambi Wildlife Retreat is a not for profit charity that is developing a retreat for retired animals from zoo breeding programs, the circus and other entertainment industries.

The retreat is not open to the public.

The Advertiser has reached out to the ophthalmologists to find out how Indira is recovering.