Bear with 'monstrously enlarged' tongue rescued by Myanmar vets

An Asiatic Black Bear cub in Myanmar had a tongue that was so swollen, it dragged along the ground when it walked.

The 18-month old bear, now named Nyan htoo — which means "bright" — was operated on by a team of local veterinarians and others from the University of Edinburgh. Together, they amputated the bear's nearly seven-pound, "monstrously enlarged" tongue. The vet team said that the cub was suffering from an unknown disease, according to USA Today.

It isn't the first time Nyan htoo's tongue problem was addressed. In 2016, a first attempt was made to remove some of the excess tongue tissue but the swelling returned and eventually got worse. By June of this year, the cub's tongue was so swollen, it was dragging on the ground as he walked and played with his bear-brother, Kan htoo ("lucky").

6 PHOTOS
Disfigured bear saved after mystery illness
See Gallery
Disfigured bear saved after mystery illness

The bear – called Nyan htoo, which means ‘bright’ – was rescued as a cub along with its brother by a monastery in Myanmar.

(Photo via The Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies)

The bear – called Nyan htoo, which means ‘bright’ – was rescued as a cub along with its brother by a monastery in Myanmar.

(Photo via The Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies)

The bear – called Nyan htoo, which means ‘bright’ – was rescued as a cub along with its brother by a monastery in Myanmar.

(Photo via The Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies)

The bear – called Nyan htoo, which means ‘bright’ – was rescued as a cub along with its brother by a monastery in Myanmar.

(Photo via The Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies)

The bear – called Nyan htoo, which means ‘bright’ – was rescued as a cub along with its brother by a monastery in Myanmar.

(Photo via The Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies)

HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

The cub and with his brother were brought to live in a monastery last year after monks rescued them from illegal sale in China.

The vet team — made up of University of Edinburgh vets, an Animals Asia Bear Rescue Center of Vietnam vet nurse, volunteers from Wildlife Surgery International and others from the charities the Winton Foundation for the Welfare of Bears and Free the Bears — operated for four hours on Nyan htoo. They believe the bear's tongue infection may have been caused by a mosquito-transmitted strain of elephantiasis.

"This was an opportunity for us to use our veterinary and animal welfare expertise to make a significant difference for a bear and the people who care for him," University of Edinburgh Veterinary Studies representative Heather Bacon told USA Today.

"Thanks to the enthusiasm and compassion of all involved in this uniquely collaborative project, we have been able to make a tangible improvement in the quality of Nyan htoo's life, and hope to continue our work in Myanmar to promote improvements in animal welfare and veterinary training."

The cub is recovering well and expected to have a better, more normal quality of life.

18 PHOTOS
Hungarian hospital helps injured birds
See Gallery
Hungarian hospital helps injured birds

An injured owl receives anesthesia in order to have its broken wing fixed at a hospital for wild birds in Hortobagy National Park, Hungary June 27, 2017.

(REUTERS/Laszlo Balogh)

Blackbirds wait for a food at a hospital for wild birds in Hortobagy National Park, Hungary June 27, 2017. 

(REUTERS/Laszlo Balogh)

Hungarian veterinarian Janos Deri looks at an Xray showing the broken wing of an injured owl at a hospital for wild birds in Hortobagy National Park, Hungary June 27, 2017. 

(REUTERS/Laszlo Balogh)

A sparrow is being fed at a hospital for wild birds in Hortobagy National Park, Hungary June 27, 2017. 

(REUTERS/Laszlo Balogh)

An assistant sets free an injured eagel at a hospital for wild birds in Hortobagy National Park, Hungary June 27, 2017. 

(REUTERS/Laszlo Balogh)

An assistant sets free an injured stork, which received a prosthetic leg, at a hospital for wild birds in Hortobagy National Park, Hungary June 27, 2017. 

(REUTERS/Laszlo Balogh)

An injured owl has its broken wing fixed at a hospital for wild birds in Hortobagy National Park, Hungary June 27, 2017. 

(REUTERS/Laszlo Balogh)

An injured stork, which received a prosthetic leg, flies in an outdoor recovery center at a hospital for wild birds in Hortobagy National Park, Hungary June 27, 2017. 

(REUTERS/Laszlo Balogh)

An injured owl receives anesthesia in order to have its broken wing fixed at a hospital for wild birds in Hortobagy National Park, Hungary June 27, 2017. 

(REUTERS/Laszlo Balogh)

An injured stork, which received a prosthetic leg, runs in an outdoor recovery center at a hospital for wild birds in Hortobagy National Park, Hungary June 27, 2017. 

(REUTERS/Laszlo Balogh)

An injured stork awaits a new prosthetic leg at a hospital for wild birds in Hortobagy National Park, Hungary June 27, 2017. 

(REUTERS/Laszlo Balogh)

Hungarian veterinarian Janos Deri examines an eagle, which received a prosthetic leg, in an outdoor recovery center at a hospital for wild birds in Hortobagy National Park, Hungary, June 27, 2017. 

(REUTERS/Laszlo Balogh)

An injured kestrel has its broken wing fixed at a hospital for wild birds in Hortobagy National Park, Hungary June 27, 2017. 

(REUTERS/Laszlo Balogh)

An injured stork receives a new prosthetic leg at a hospital for wild birds in Hortobagy National Park, Hungary June 27, 2017. 

(REUTERS/Laszlo Balogh)

Hungarian veterinarian Janos Deri sets free a buzzard at a hospital for wild birds in Hortobagy National Park, Hungary June 27, 2017. 

(REUTERS/Laszlo Balogh)

An injured eagle is being examined at a hospital for wild birds in Hortobagy National Park, Hungary June 27, 2017. 

(REUTERS/Laszlo Balogh)

An eagle flies in an outdoor recovery center at a hospital for wild birds in Hortobagy National Park, Hungary June 27, 2017. 

(REUTERS/Laszlo Balogh)

HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

Read Full Story