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Golden lion tamarin undergoes cataract surgery at Akron Zoo

Published: June 17, 2017 12:25 PM
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The Akron Zoo recently performed cataract surgery on their female golden lion tamarin, Ana.

The zoo partnered with Clear Choice Laser Center, Cleveland Eye Clinic and Great Lakes Veterinary Specialists to perform the surgery.

Golden lion tamarins are small primates that are endangered.

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Brittany Rizzo, veterinarian at the Akron Zoo. “After performing a vet exam, it was determined Ana had developed cataracts.

Keepers trained Ana to rely on her other senses, like hearing and touch, to find her food, water and nest box.

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William Wiley, medical director of Clear Choice Laser Surgery and the Cleveland Eye Clinic, and Dr.

Emily Conway, veterinary ophthalmologist at Great Lakes Veterinary Specialists and their staff to perform laser eye surgery to remove Ana’s cataracts.


1.25 pounds — we had some challenges to overcome,” said Dr.

Wiley. “We used some of our micro-instruments for the surgery, and even had to fashion new instruments to fit in her eyes.

While tamarin eyes have similar anatomy of humans, it took more care and precision working on a much smaller scale with Ana.

Veterinary staff at the zoo will continue to treat Ana with eye drops, antibiotics and pain medications and keep a close watch on her.

Ana will remain off-exhibit as she recovers over the next few weeks.

Her brother, Rio, remains on exhibit daily in the rainforest exhibit in Komodo Kingdom.


She was born at the Woodland Park Zoo.

They are indigenous to South America. The Akron Zoo participates in the golden lion tamarin Species Survival Plan (SSP) program through the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA).

AZA-accredited institutions have an ethical responsibility to ensure the well-being of the animals in their care.

In addition, AZA-accredited institutions have a scientific

This unique surgery, and Ana’s case study will be recorded and shared to add to the growing body of animal welfare science and the husbandry of this critically endangered species in human care.

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