Device aids op on rare Golden Cat

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A piece of hi-tech surgical gear from a Leeds company has helped bring a rare big cat back to health.

The instrument has been used to perform keyhole surgery on an Asian Golden Cat at Edinburgh Zoo.

The PretzelFlex – which is shaped like a pretzel – is a new product from medical instrument maker Surgical Innovations.

It was couriered up to the zoo just hours before the surgery and the operation was the first time it has been used on an animal anywhere in the world.

Romain Pizzi, a veterinary surgeon for the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland based at Edinburgh Zoo, used the instrument as part of a liver and kidney biopsy operation on the cat, called Ipoh, which had been diagnosed with possible polycystic disease.

The cat recovered well after the op and tucked into a hearty meal soon afterwards.

Surgical Innovations has provided equipment for operations on other big beasts too – including bears and tigers.

The Asian Golden Cat lives throughout South East Asia where its numbers are declining due to deforestation.

The Edinburgh operation was watched by Professor Tang of the Ya’an Panda Centre in China who may use the device on pandas.

Mr Pizzi said: “We needed to make a diagnosis quickly but with the help of specialist surgical instruments donated by Surgical Innovations this was made possible. I am pleased to say the whole procedure was a great success and we hope to get Ipoh back to full health soon.”

He said the “ingenious instrument” can be used to hold organs out of the way during a keyhole surgical operation. He added: “It is not only one of the cleverest instruments I have ever seen, it is also one of the most beautiful.”

Graham Bowland, CEO of Surgical Innovations, said: “I am delighted that once again our laparoscopic instruments have helped Romain in his operative techniques on the animals at Edinburgh Zoo.”

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