Cheetah's eye op a success

Yolande Stander

AFTER travelling more than 900km and undergoing a 90-minute operation, Venus, a blind Oudtshoorn cheetah, is back in her enclosure and can see her surroundings for the first time in about a year.

Veterinary staff at the Cango Wildlife Ranch in Oudtshoorn have had a busy few days this week ensuring a smooth trip for the six-year-old cheetah to the Cape Animal Eye Hospital in Cape Town, where doctors performed bilateral cataract surgery on her on Wednesday.

"We are so pleased. Everything went better than expected," veterinarian Glen Carlisle said.

Carlisle and his team have been caring for the feline since her sight started deteriorating last year. They handed her over to renowned veterinary ophthalmologist Dr Antony Goodhead.

Goodhead was also happy with the outcome, saying retinal tests after the procedure showed that the cheetah could see again.

Last year, staff noticed that one of the big cat's pupils had started turning "milky". After tests, including for diabetes, specialists determined she had bilateral cataracts, which cause blindness.

She became agitated and scared of her surroundings, prompting staff to consider surgery.

On Tuesday Carlisle and his team sedated the cheetah in order to move her into a crate and transport her to Cape Town.

The next morning Dr Goodhead and his team performed the successful operation.