Puma goes to Vets4Pets Newmarket for leg amputation
Iain Cope MRCVS, an RCVS recognised Advanced Practitioner in Zoological Medicine and owner of Vets4Pets Newmarket has led a successful industry-first operation to remove the front leg of a puma, alongside a multi-disciplinary team from Sampson Park Vets and Animates Vets.
Nine-year-old Nigel the puma, from Lincolnshire Wildlife Park, was suffering from a deteriorating arthritic condition, which was causing loss of function in his front leg.
His veterinary team consulted an orthopaedic specialist and trialled medical management including steroids and Solensia, but Nigel was unresponsive to treatment.
This led to a severe debilitating limp and pain, leaving a choice between amputation or euthanasia.
Nigel's treatment was funded by donations from visitors to Lincolnshire Wildlife Park, which is a registered charity that was originally established as a sanctuary for parrots in the early 1990s, who raised nearly £5,000 following a fundraising campaign.
The operation took place in a sterile theatre set up in Nigel’s enclosure, where the entire limb was removed, including the scapula.
After an intense five-hour operation, led by Iain Cope, veterinary surgeon and practice owner at Vets4Pets Newmarket, and Shannon Grimwood, veterinary nurse at Vets4Pets Newmarket, Nigel is now on the road to recovery and adapting well to life with three legs.
Iain said: “Nigel’s case was certainly unique and one we haven’t come across before. Working alongside Lincolnshire Wildlife Park and a team of local vets and veterinary nurses, we applied our knowledge of domestic cat amputations to a big one.
“The approach was extremely similar, and the operation ran as smoothly as possible.”