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Dec 6, 2012

Decreasing the Negative Implications of Surgery: Asiatic black bears

Welfare advantages of keyhole surgery in Asiatic black bears rescued from illegal bile farming in Vietnam and Cambodia

Fourteen adult Asiatic black bears (Ursus thibetanus) rescued from illegal bile farming in Vietnam and Cambodia were examined via abdominal ultrasound and keyhole surgery, referred to as laparoscopic or minimally invasive surgery, to assess the severity of their gallbladder and liver disease. Bears with notably diseased gallbladders had these removed via keyhole surgery. Bears that have traditional open abdominal surgical gallbladder examinations and removals take four to six weeks before a return to normal activity postoperatively. In contrast, these bears demonstrated rapid unremarkable healing, low post-surgical pain, and were allowed unrestricted access to outside enclosures to climb trees, swim and interact normally with other bears within 5-7 days of surgery. The technique has been demonstrated to be safe and practical under field conditions. The technique is less expensive than traditional open abdominal surgery techniques, and has been taught to local Cambodian and Vietnamese wildlife veterinarians, who now perform keyhole surgical liver biopsies on their own as needed in the Phnom Tamao wildlife rescue centre.


RZSS Edinburgh Zoo

COMMENDATION received for BIAZA Awards 2012 in Significant Advances in Zoo and Wildlife Medicine

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