Thursday 25 December 2014

Zoo's panda recovers from tumour op

Published 07/05/2014 | 18:42

A male giant panda, like the one pictured, had to have a tumour removed
A male giant panda, like the one pictured, had to have a tumour removed

One of San Diego Zoo's giant pandas is recovering from surgery to remove his right testicle because of the presence of a tumour.

The one-hour procedure was a success, and veterinarians are hopeful that Gao Gao will make a full recovery, zoo officials said.

The popular panda could be back on show to the public as early as this weekend.

The Ministry of Forestry for the People's Republic of China was informed about Gao Gao's health and gave approval for the surgery. All of the zoo's pandas are on loan from China.

Gao Gao is estimated to be about 24 years old and is the father of five cubs born at San Diego Zoo. It was unclear if he would continue to be part of the panda breeding population.

"For an older male animal who is intact to get a testicular tumour is not that uncommon," zoo veterinarian Meg Sutherland-Smith told U-T San Diego.

An ultrasound and biopsies revealed that Gao Gao had a tumour called a seminoma, officials said. The tumour is cancerous, but seminomas are typically not aggressive and generally do not metastasise. He was being treated with analgesics and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medication.

Gao Gao was born in the wild and taken to a rescue centre in China in 1992 with bite wounds on his ear.

He moved to San Diego from China's Wolong Panda Conservation Centrein 2003. Gao Gao fathered five of the six zoo cubs born to Bai Yun, who is 22 years old.

The panda parents share the Panda Trek exhibit with their cub Xiao Liwu, who turns two in July.

Press Association

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