Successful Sea Lion Surgery

1 July 2016

Brave Bella is a model patient during eye operation

On Tuesday June 28th, one of our older California sea lions underwent surgery on her left eye. Bella had developed a cataract, but unfortunately the eye’s lens went on to dislocate, causing discomfort and impairing her vision. This is known to occur in sea lions over the age of 15, and Bella is the ripe old age of 22. Specialist veterinary ophthalmologist, Claudia Hartley, came to assess her condition and conducted surgery to relieve Bella of what was quite a painful predicament!

Bella the California sea lion on operating table

 Under general anaesthetic, the cloudy lens was removed from Bella’s eye and a clear gel inserted into its place. This will allow Bella to retain some of her vision in that eye and will relieve the pain that she had been experiencing. Before the operation, our dedicated keepers, Alex, Nikki and Erin had been taking turns coming in early in the morning and staying late at night to ensure Bella was as comfortable as possible in the run-up to her treatment.

Bella the California sea lion waking up from her operation

 Bella will be treated with some ointment and medicine to help her recover following her surgery, and park manager Gary Gilmour says “She has been doing extremely well.” While her vision won’t be as acute as it was when she was a pup, Bella will hopefully be fighting fit and back splashing around in view of the public in the near future.