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Stem cell operation for snow leopard

Kamala being operated on to harvest stomach fat for her stem cell injection to help with arthritic knee. Photo by Marco del Grande.

Zoos continue to provide more and more sophisticated medical treatment for snow leopards to increase their quality of life and their life span. For example, in a world first for snow leopards, Taronga Zoo (Sydney Australia) undertook stem cell therapy in November 2010 on Kamala, the five year old female snow leopard. Kamala’s arthritic knee wasn’t responding to medical treatment so the Zoo decided to perform the new technology treatement. Zoo vets performed 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.

X-ray of Kamala's knee. Photo by Marco del Grande

Some fat being removed from Kamala's stomach. Photo by Marco del Grande