Kamala, the five year old female snow leopard at Taronga Zoo in Sydney Australia, has an arthritic knee that hasn’t been responding to medical treatment. Zoo vets just completed an operation to remove fat from her stomach, which was then processed in a lab and injected into Kamala’s right hind knee joint. The injected sample contains a range of cells, which can decrease inflammation and secrete growth factors promoting tissue healing,
It’s hoped this will prevent further degeneration of the knee. Knowledge of care and breeding of captive snow leopards in zoos has become very sophisticated and they can live up to 20 years in the zoo environment, so Kamala is still considered a young cat.
Surgeon Dr Tony Black, of the Veterinary Specialist Centre in North Ryde, and hospital veterinarian, Kimberly Vinette Herrin decided to try the therapy, which has been used successfully on domestic dogs and cats.
”Because she is such a young animal we want to try to slow down the progress of the arthritis. We want to give her the best quality of life and alleviate any pain or discomfort,” Dr Vinette Herron said.
Kamala is also leading the way for humans in this operation. According to The Age story “seven people have also had the therapy, and a double-blind clinical trial of 40 people in Sydney is about to start. ” Story by Deborah Smith.