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Bear in Israel undergoes surgery to repair disc

Associated Press

RAMAT GAN, Israel (AP) -- Surgery can be a real bear. Even for a bear.

In Israel, a 19-year-old Syria brown bear named Mango underwent surgery Wednesday to repair a herniated disc, said Sagit Horowitz, a spokeswoman for the Ramat Gan Zoological Center near Tel Aviv.

Zoologists first noticed Mango had a problem when he started to show signs of paralysis in his hind legs in the last few weeks, said Dr. Merav Shamir, who led the surgery on the furry patient.

"It started acutely," she said. "He wasn't able to move his right hind limb and it progressively deteriorated over the following 48 hours to become completely paralyzed on the hind limbs."

Brown Bear In Israel Gets Back Surgery For A Slipped Disc

Horowitz said veterinarians discovered the 250-kilogram (550-pound) bear had the injured disc during an X-ray taken after noticing his worsening paralysis. That disc compressed Mango's spinal cord and caused the paralysis he had been suffering through, Shamir said.

Veterinarians shaved parts of the bear's furry back to prepare him for surgery Wednesday, as well as intubated him. They propped his head up on a pillow wrapped in a trash bag and put an IV through his snout. They also wrapped a blood-pressure cuff around his right paw.

Such unique procedures aren't uncommon at the Ramat Gan Zoological Center, the premier zoo of Israel. Last year, veterinarians there used acupuncture to cure the chronic ear infection of a 14-year-old Sumatran tiger named Pedang.

Shamir said other bears with a similar disc problem like Mango had been euthanized and that the surgery he underwent was novel for bears - though often performed on small dogs.

"I'm nervous now - I'll be happier in a few hours," Shamir said before the hourslong surgery began. "I wish him luck."

Veterinarians will know in the coming weeks whether Mango makes a full recovery.

Join the discussion

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cheryll1211 May 07 2014 at 2:28 PM

So where's the sterilization?? No masks??? I hope he doesn't catch an infection and is OK. Love bears, they're awesome.

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1 reply
sparkleopard cheryll1211 May 07 2014 at 3:00 PM

I looks like the actual procedure has not started yet in these photos, they are merely prepping him for the surgery. There is a point in spinal surgeries where dye is injected into the spinal cord and radiographs are then taken to ensure there is adequate blood flow/nerve function but I think that is done after the discs are repaired

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Charlene May 07 2014 at 4:30 PM

I hope the surgery relieves the bear's pain. This was a very humane thing to do.

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allnightradioman May 07 2014 at 4:35 PM

Good Doctors - God Bless Them!!!

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Steve Sinn May 07 2014 at 4:39 PM

When I hear of stories like this I am proud of the human species for trying to take care of an animal that has been in a zoo. We do owe them good health if possible.

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gingerroute May 07 2014 at 4:40 PM

Best to Mango - and to us humans who may benefit from this.

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Dan & Bev Hall May 07 2014 at 4:51 PM

Good Luck Little Fellow...

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swayman555 May 07 2014 at 4:57 PM

Talk about heart...wish the world would see the jewish people in the light and understand they want to contribute to the bettering world..their medical contributions are numerous and their dedication towards humanity impressive. God Bless their ability

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1 reply
susantexas10 swayman555 May 07 2014 at 10:35 PM

Well there are other countries in the world that don't feel that way and for good reason. Every thing is not as it seems.

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crrunch May 07 2014 at 5:07 PM

Hats off to those who think outside the box! Please do let us know if it's successful or not - we certainly would like to know.

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Tim Mahoney May 07 2014 at 5:16 PM

Hey, this could work on NFL linemen!

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Maryle Barbe May 07 2014 at 5:18 PM

I hope he will be well. What a wonderful caring staff at the zoo!

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1 reply
Sonja Maryle Barbe May 07 2014 at 6:50 PM

This would not happen over here in the good USA or Sweden where the Fed The Gazepra to the Lion, because the didtn't wont to inbreed his familiy siblings?
sweden, you Lerne from the Jewish People in Israeel, you Animal Killers. Am German, I used Like Sweden, still do, but the Person who killed this great Animal, right in front of School children, should be hung on a tree under a Lion Cage and eaten, you white Pig.
God will Punish your Ass either on Earth or on your dead bed.
you nothing but a Piece of ****, you shouldn;t be working in a Zoo any Zoo.
sincerly Sonja Wolff.

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1 reply
susantexas10 Sonja May 07 2014 at 10:32 PM

What are you babbling about?

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