A nine-year-old South American fur seal has become the first of her kind in the UK to receive eye implants to control her immune system. The implants contain slow-release ciclosporin to treat her immune mediated blepharitis.
A nine-year-old South American fur seal has become the first of her kind in the UK to receive eye implants to control her immune system.
Grace, from the Living Coasts marine centre in Devon, has been suffering from white patches on both eyes as a result of immune mediated blepharitis.
In an operation carried out by Paignton zoo vet Sarah Chapman and referral ophthalmologist Jim Carter, from Abbotskerswell Veterinary Centre, she had implants containing slow-release ciclosporin inserted under each eye.
Mr Carter said: “This is a first for the UK – these implants have not been used in the UK for this type of case and never in a seal.”
However, he added that it would take time before they know if the operation has been successful.
“We would hope to see an improvement in her comfort over the coming days, but it will be months before we know how the changes in the cornea are going,” he said. “The implant will slowly release the drug to prevent inflammation over the next two to three years.”
Mr Carter also gave his thanks to fellow ophthalmologist Claudia Hartley, from the Animal Health Trust, who travelled to Devon to provide the implants.
Sarah Chapman was pleased with the implant procedure and said Grace had coped well. She added: “Two hours later Grace was swimming about and eating fish back at Living Coasts.”
- Living Coasts is a registered charity. For more information call (01803) 202470 or visit www.livingcoasts.org.uk.