Objective: To determine the prevalence of ocular pathology in captive adult cheetahs. Materials and Methods: An ophthalmic examination was performed on 73 cheetahs, between the ages of 1 to 14 years, while undergoing immobilisation for their routine health check. The population of adult cheetahs within the Ann van Dyk Cheetah Centre and the AfriCat Foundation was used for the research project. Results: The most prevalent pathological lesions were cataracts (10%). Most of the cataracts were found bilaterally, at the posterior extremity of the lens, in young cheetahs (1 - 6 years), from the Ann van Dyk Cheetah Centre, while only one unilateral cataract was found at the AfriCat Foundation. Three siblings, from Ann van Dyk Cheetah Centre, were found to have the same type of cataracts and fundic lesions. These fundic lesions resembled retinal dysplasia. No fundic pathology was found in the cheetahs at the AfriCat Foundation. A unique retinal pigment was observed in 71.8% of the cheetahs. This was equally distributed throughout both centres. Conclusions: These types of cataracts and fundic lesions could indicate hereditary, congenital or nutritional causes. This is a concern because of the future implications it could have on breeding programs and the cheetah species. Regular detailed ophthalmic examination in the cheetah can help with the early diagnosis and treatment of ocular lesions and may prove beneficial to the management of breeding programmes
Dissertation (MMedVet)--University of Pretoria, 2017.