Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Famous Tiger Is Going Blind, So People Are Trying To Save Her Eyes.

By Sarah V. Schweig
The Dodo

"Indira, a 15-year-old Bengal tiger who was used for films and TV shows, now can't even see her food.

When she was in the spotlight, Indira played roles in "George of the Jungle" and "Anaconda." Now, she has serious eye problems, but her rescuers are doing everything they can to help her see clearly again.

Zambi Wildlife Retreat Facebook: "This morning a team of experts are coming together at the University of Sydney's Teaching hospital to CAT scan and hopefully operate on the beautiful tiger Indira. Indira's eyesight has been deteriorating and she could eventually lose her sight if not treated. We will post an update as soon as we have news of the outcome. Let's all wish her luck! <3"

Rescued by the Zambi Wildlife Retreat, a home for retired zoo, circus and entertainment animals in Australia, Indira is a beloved member of the rescued menagerie.

In February, Indira made headlines simply by taking a bath in her pool.

"Indira's our most playful and friendly animal," Donna Wilson, her carer, said.

But Indira's carers recently noticed her walking into things. And when Indira walked right past her food, that's when Wilson knew her cataracts were really serious, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.

Zambi Wildlife Retreat Facebook: "Indira always looks so cute when she catnaps <3"

This week, her carers took Indira to experts who could figure out exactly how to help her.

"At UVTHS we specialize in dogs and cats but we have never cared for a 96 kg cat," wrote the University Veterinary Teaching Hospital Sydney on Facebook this week. "We are so incredibly lucky to have a VIC (very important cat!) here today."

University Veterinary Teaching Hospital Sydney Facebook

The veterinarians gave Indira many tests to figure out what the best approach to saving her eyes would be. Indira underwent ultrasounds, CAT scans, an  MRI and blood work like a champion.

"Indira is a very quiet, happy girl who is exceptionally well behaved and easy to handle, but unfortunately her eyesight has deteriorated over the years to the point that she walks into objects, falls into open ditches and at times has trouble finding her food," the UVTHS wrote.

University Veterinary Teaching Hospital Sydney Facebook

"After a big day Indira is back at home safe and sound," wrote Zambi on Wednesday.

It will not take a couple of weeks for all information to be reviewed, Zambi said, before plans for surgery are solidified.

Zambi Wildlife Retreat Facebook: "One of the tigers we care for at ZWR, Indira, will be undergoing eye surgery in the very near future for a condition known as Medial strabismus. This is when, at rest, the eye is deviated down and laterally (is depressed and abducted).
So in order for her to make the transition from the retreat to the vet hospital as stress free as possible, Donna has been training her to go in and out of the van. She has been enjoying the training so much that she has already progressed to short trips around the retreat.
A sure sign that Indira is happy with her little adventures is the sound of her constant chuffs. Chuffing is a non-threatening vocalization that tigers make. It is often used between two cats who are greeting each other. It is also common to see captive tigers exchange chuffs with their keepers and handlers in a way to express a greeting or excitement.
Our van, which was kindly donated to us by Kyle Sandilands (Kyle and Jackie O), has already saved one tiger's life and has taken numerous other animals to the vet, and now it will help Indira travel safely and stress free to the hospital for her surgery. We will keep you all updated with her progress."

Normally, it would cost over $10,000 for all these procedures on a cat like Indira. But the veterinary hospital is donating the work to Indira for free.

Zambi Wildlife Retreat Instagram: "INDIRA- "I'm not lazy...just physically conservative."'

"This would not be possible without...the dedicated team of medical professionals that work so hard to make a difference to the lives of animals," Zambi wrote.

Here's to hoping Indira is seeing clearly again soon."

Click here for the original story.

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