Animals

Peek in on a Bear in Surgery: Photos

A 19-year-old Syrian brown bear went under the knife to repair a herniated disc.

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On May 7, 2014, Mango, a Syrian brown bear, underwent surgery at Israel's Ramat Gan Zoological Park. Mango's gait had recently become sluggish, and the great creature didn't seem fond of standing up. It turned out the bear had a slipped disc between his second and third vertebrae, a condition whose incidence in bears is unknown. No bear of Mango's size has previously been treated for the condition, making his surgery something of an event.

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Mango undergoes sedation in preparation for the surgery. His furry back had to be shaved beforehand.

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Mango is 19 years old, and has spent his entire life at the Ramat Gan Zoological Park.

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While eight people took part in the operation itself, it took 15 people to lift Mango onto the operating table. The Ramat Gan Zoological Center is no stranger to performing unusual operations on big animals. Veterinarians there used acupuncture to treat a 14-year-old Sumatran tiger that had chronic problems with ear infections.

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The 551-pound (250 kg) creature with a backache spent nine hours under the knife while his herniated disc was repaired.

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It will require a few weeks for the zoo's veterinarians to determine whether or not Mango's operation was a success and he's able to return to his less herniated ways.