Bengal Tiger at the Cummings School Press Release

Tiger Undergoes Minimally Invasive Surgery at Cummings School

Two-Year Old Bengal from Southwick's Zoo Recovering Well
North Grafton, MA, November 2, 2009

Kya, a two-year-old Bengal tiger is recovering well following a minimally invasive spaying procedure at the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University. The 180 pound tiger, a resident of Southwick's Zoo in Mendon, MA, was one of the first patients of the Cummings School's Foster Hospital for Small Animals to have the routine procedure done laproscopically.

The Cummings School's surgical team, led by Clinical Associate Professors Robert McCarthy and Joerg Mayer and third-year surgical resident Sevima Aktay, performed the procedure in about one and a half hours. Kya is expected to make a better-than-typical recovery, thanks to the fact that each of the three small holes recovered for the surgery required only one suture—eliminating the need to anesthetize the animal again to remove sutures once the wound heals.

The Cummings School recently began performing spays laproscopically, which reduces postoperative pain, collateral tissue damage and has been shown in clinical literature to reduce complications. Unlike with the open surgical approach to spays, clinicians remove only the animal's ovaries, not the uterus, as well. Clinicians at the Foster Hospital will soon begin offering the minimally invasive procedure to dogs and cats at the hospital.

Tigers, which are listed as endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, are primarily found in India and Bangladesh, although they have been found in Nepal, Bhutan, Myanmar, and southern Tibet. About 4,000 tigers remain in the wild, according to WWF.

Named for the late Dr. Henry Foster L. Foster and his wife, Lois, the Foster Hospital for Small Animals treated more than 26,000 animals in Fiscal Year 2009 (July 1, 2008–June 30, 2009), and ranks in the top five veterinary teaching hospitals in the nation. More than 80 percent of the hospital's cases are dogs and cats, but Cummings School clinicians have recently treated a goose with osteosarcoma, a mule with an irregular heartbeat, and a baby giraffe deprived of her mother's milk.

Bengal Tiger Picture Gallery

Additional pictures of the surgery can be found on the TCSVM Media Services site. High-resolution photos are available by request.


About the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine

Founded in 1978 in North Grafton, MA, the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University is known for academic programs that impact society and the practice of veterinary medicine; five hospitals that treat over 30,000 cases each year; and groundbreaking research that benefits animal, public and environmental health.