Snow Leopard Cub Receives Rare Eyelid Surgery

snow leopard cub in surgery
UC Davis veterinary ophthalmologists examine Coconut's eyes.

Coconut, the snow leopard cub born at the Sacramento Zoo earlier this year, underwent a rare eyelid surgery on Wednesday, October 24th. UC Davis veterinary specialists and the Sacramento Zoo veterinary team collaborated to correct a congenital eyelid defect known as colombas. This ocular deformity is sometimes documented in snow leopards under human care. Coconut was also born with other birth defects that impact his mobility.

The eyelid surgery has been a possibility since UC Davis and Sacramento Zoo veterinarians first examined the young cub. After months of regular monitoring by Sacramento Zoo care staff, as well as daily eye drops and periodic examinations by UC Davis specialists, the two teams decided in late September to proceed with the eyelid surgery.

"If you don't do any type of corrections for these animals, they will develop recurrent irritation," said UC Davis Veterinary Ophthalmologist Brian Leonard. "Then you can have a much more severe scenario."

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