A 19 year-old Humboldt penguin has had her sight saved by the team at the Animal Health Trust (AHT) in Kentford.
Wellamy was referred to the charity after her keepers noticed her sight was deteriorating.
Claudia Hartley, head of ophthalmology at the AHT, took a small team of vets out to Colchester Zoo to assess Wellamy’s eye sight.
After being diagnosed with severe cataracts in both eyes, surgery was the only option in order to restore her vision and allow her to continue to live happily with her colony.
Claudia said: “Upon examining Wellamy we found that she had cataracts in both eyes, which meant her vision was extremely impaired, especially under water. She also had severe inflammation called uveitis, due to the cataracts, which was causing her discomfort. It was in her best interest that we operated as quickly as possible to relieve the pain and restore her sight.”
Both Wellamy’s eyes were operated on during the same procedure, so she only had to endure one anaesthetic and was able to get back to the zoo as soon as possible.
She was kept in isolation for several weeks under the watchful eye of Colchester Zoo’s IZVG Vet John Lewis and keeper Kate Broad.
Kate said: “We noticed that Wellamy was having difficulties mixing with the other penguins due to the problems with her sight, so we got in touch with the Animal Health Trust straight away and were really pleased that they could help her.
“Wellamy was hatched here at the zoo so we’ve grown very close to her. She is a real character. We’re extremely pleased that, thanks to the treatment she’s received, she will be able to live a much happier life.
“The AHT team were absolutely fantastic. Operating on a penguin is no easy task, but the AHT team are experts in this kind of procedure and took every precaution to ensure that Wellamy received the very best care.”
Claudia added: “Wellamy’s eyes have healed really well. I was delighted to see that she looked fantastic. Really full of herself, crowing with her mates and back to her gobby normal self! The transformation was really quite incredible from my first visit where she was very subdued and wasn’t mixing with the other penguins.”
To see a video of Wellamy’s story please visit www.youtube.com/ahttv.