Little Big Foot's story
The Animal Health Trust in Newmarket is recognised as a veterinary referral centre for cats, dogs and horses. Visitors were therefore somewhat surprised on a grey January day when a one-year-old Wallaby arrived for treatment!
Little Big Foot, as he has been christened by his carers at Tiggywinkles Wildlife Hospital, was found in the pouch of an adult female Wallaby which was brought in by their rescue team. Unfortunately, the mother had contracted chronic mandibular osteomyelitis (commonly known as lumpy jaw) and, despite intensive veterinary care, she did not survive. Thanks to a dedicated nursing team, and a committed foster mother, Little Big Foot developed into a healthy young Wallaby. It was particularly sad, therefore, that his sight subsequently became severely impaired and, on examination, he was found to have cataracts in both eyes.
At this point, the Animal Health Trust was contacted as world leaders in veterinary ophthalmology. Following an initial consultation, Jane Sansom, the Trust’s Head of Ophthalmology, performed surgery to remove the cataracts from both eyes. This was done using a technique known as 'phacoemulsification' which involves breaking the cataracts into tiny pieces which are then sucked out. Jane said “It’s quite a common operation, we do it all the time on cats and dogs. Performing the operation on a Wallaby is very unusual but not unique.”
Following this procedure the patient returned to Tiggywinkles, near Aylesbury in Buckinghamshire, and is doing very well.