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Cross-eyed tiger undergoes CAT scan

13 July 2016
Diagnostic imaging determines surgery needed to save the famous tiger's eyesight.

Indira the cross-eyed tiger visited the University Veterinary Teaching Hospital for diagnostic imaging ahead of surgery to save its eyesight. The famous tiger – which has appeared in a number of television shows and films – is being cared for in retirement by Zambi Wildlife Retreat. 

This is the first time in more than a decade that we have had a tiger in our facility.
Professor Vanessa Barrs.
Indira having a CAT scan at the University of Sydney's University Veterinary Teaching Hospital.

Indira having a CAT scan at the University Veterinary Teaching Hospital. Credit University of Sydney. Image top of page is a modified photo provided by Zambi Wildlife Retreat. 

A team of experts were today visited by Indira the famous tiger at the University Veterinary Teaching Hospital to prepare for an operation to arrest her deteriorating eyesight. 

Indira – who has appeared in numerous movies and TV series such as George of the Jungle and Anaconda – is in the care of Zambi Wildlife Retreat, which among other things provides a home for retired animals from the entertainment industry.

Anaesthesia specialist Dr Alastair Mair and radiologist Dr Mariano Makara at the University of Sydney’s veterinary teaching hospital collaborated with Taronga Zoo chief veterinarian Dr Larry Vogelnest and affiliate veterinary ophthalmologist Dr Cameron Whittaker to anaesthetise the tiger. Diagnostic imaging work including ultrasound, MRI and computerised tomographic CT/CAT scan took longer than exptected, so Indira will return for surgery in a few weeks' time.

The hospital’s veterinary director, Professor Vanessa Barrs from the Faculty of Veterinary Science, said the multi-specialist team ensured the exotic animal received the best possible treatment. “This is the first time in more than a decade that we have had a tiger in our facility,” Professor Barrs said.

Zambi director Donna Wilson said the 15-year-old Bengal tiger had been born at the Bullen’s Animal World facility and as a cub underwent cataract surgery with good results.

“Indira is a very quiet, happy girl who is exceptionally well behaved and easy to handle, but unfortunately her eyesight has deteriorated over the years to the point that she now walks into objects, falls into open ditches and at times has trouble finding her food,” Ms Wilson said.

Vivienne Reiner

Media and PR Adviser (Science, Veterinary Science, Agriculture)
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