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550 Pound Bear Gets World’s First Back Surgery

Meet Mango, a 19-year-old Syrian brown bear. He was living a happy life in a zoo in Israel when zookeepers noticed a problem that started to escalate quickly. They noticed that Mango wasn’t utilizing his legs fully one day and decided to keep a close eye on the issue at hand. Things went from bad to worse within just 48 hours and Mango lost all function with his back legs. “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,”said Doctor Merav Shamir. Action needed to be taken immediately to help out the 550 pound bear, so a first of its kind procedure was approved. Medical teams immediately arrived to help save the life of Mango, the 19-year-old Syrian brown bear. Take a look below of the bear that undergoes back surgery.

550 Pound Bear Gets World's First Back Surgery
Daily Mail

After an X-ray, doctors noticed that Mango had injured a disc in his spine earlier which compressed his spinal cord. As his spinal cord started to swell he lost all movement in his hind legs. Typically an animal would be put down if this occurred but doctors had the means and the desire to help Mango.

550 Pound Bear Gets World's First Back Surgery
Daily Mail

Mango was brought into the operating room which had to be slightly modified to support the enormous bear. Pillows were wrapped in garbage bags for his giant head to lie on. A drip IV was inserted into his snout and breathing tubes were placed into his mouth.

550 Pound Bear Gets World's First Back Surgery
Daily Mail

They hooked up a heart rate monitor to his right paw to measure his vital signs during this one of a kind surgery.

550 Pound Bear Gets World's First Back Surgery
Daily Mail

Doctors had to shave a strip of fur off of his back to access the spinal cord. They had to use truck straps to secure the giant beast to the operating table.

550 Pound Bear Gets World's First Back Surgery
Daily Mail

After they shaved the area that they would be working on, the doctors discussed the best possible way to go about the procedure. This isn’t a procedure they perform everyday after all.

550 Pound Bear Gets World's First Back Surgery
Daily Mail

The doctors have done this type of surgery on many dogs and other small animals before. They had never done back surgery on a bear before, so this would be a new challenge with many risks involved.

550 Pound Bear Gets World's First Back Surgery
Daily Mail

Last year, the veterinarians at the Ramat Gan Zoological Center used acupuncture to cure a horrible ear infection on a 14-year-old Sumatran tiger named Pedang. They are not shy of unusual procedures at the Ramat Gan Zoological Center.

550 Pound Bear Gets World's First Back Surgery
Daily Mail

Veterinarians now have to wait a few weeks to see if Mango makes a full recovery. They expect him to do so as the procedure went flawlessly. Mango is a Syrian brown bear which is typically found in Turkey, Egypt, Israel, Syria, Palestine, Iraq, and other parts of Europe. Because of poaching, Syrian brown bears have become extinct in the wild in Egypt, Syria, Lebanon and Israel. This explains the importance of taking extra measures to ensure Mango’s recovery.

I sure hope this beautiful bear makes a full recovery. After hearing about the species being endangered and even extinct in certain parts of the world, I truly hope for a successful surgery. These doctors have gone above and beyond to help Mango and his paralyzed back legs. It’s crazy to think that a bear that undergoes back surgery would be the first of its kind. What are your thoughts?

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