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Stem cell operation world first for snow leopard at Sydney Zoo

Snow leopard stem cell world first

Snow leopard Kamala undergoing world first stem cell operation at Taronga Zoo in Sydney Australia. Photo Marco del Grande.

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,

Snow leopard world first stem cell operation

Kamala receiving injection of the stem cells into her arthritic knee. Photo Marco del Grande

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.

World first snow leopard stem cell operation

Dr Tony Black with Kamala's stomach fat. Photo by Marco del Grande.

”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.

{ 3 comments… add one }

  • mireya November 25, 2010, 12:39 pm

    I hope she doesn’t get hurt again.

  • mireya November 26, 2010, 1:20 am

    Please visit my blog. I put 2 new posts about snow leopards, 1 is even from your blog. So Pleeeeeeeeeeeeese visit my blog.

  • Laura Palacios November 27, 2010, 3:54 pm

    Congratulations to all that doctor´s team, hopefully she will recover soon and have a great life as she deserve. keep protecting them please.

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