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    Three sibling snow leopard (Panthera uncia) cubs were evaluated shortly after birth and found to have bilateral eyelid colobomas involving >50% of the upper central and lateral lid margins. The cubs also had iris to cornea persistent pupillary membranes and developed varying degrees of keratitis caused by trichiasis and exposure. No fundic abnormalities were noted. Given the severity of the defects an extensive surgical correction was required. Prior to surgical correction, the cubs were separated from the dam daily and a human-animal socialization plan was enacted to prepare the cubs for the intensive postoperative care that would be required. Bilateral lip commissure to eyelid transposition surgeries were performed on one cub at a time at 2 wk intervals starting at 3 mo of age. Postoperative care was labor and time intensive and each cub was maintained at the zoo's veterinary hospital for 11-21 days with daily supervised visits with the cub's siblings. All cubs were successfully reintroduced together and with the dam at the end of each hospitalization. The surgical procedure yielded fully functional eyelids and an excellent cosmetic appearance in all three cubs. The planned consistent human interaction with the cubs before and during the postoperative period made the procedure and its intensive aftercare possible and was crucial to the successful outcome of the surgeries.


    Jennifer J Kilburn, Kay A Backues, Stephanie Kain, Jonathan Pucket. LIP-TO-LID TRANSPOSITION AND HUSBANDRY MANAGEMENT FOR SEVERE BILATERAL EYELID COLOBOMA IN THREE SNOW LEOPARDS (PANTHERA UNCIA). Journal of zoo and wildlife medicine : official publication of the American Association of Zoo Veterinarians. 2019 Sep;50(3):688-695

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    PMID: 33517640

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