Bear has huge 3kg tongue removed

Vets remove bear's enormous swollen tongue

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Bear has huge 3kg tongue removed


A bear has undergone surgery to have his enormous 3kg swollen tongue removed.

Nyan htoo has suffered with the mystery swollen tongue since he was a cub, reports the BBC.

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Nyan htoo was rescued from illegal sale in Myanmar along with a sibling by monks at a monastery in Myanmar. They prevented the two bears from being shipped to China. But poor Nyans's tongue soon began to grow and became so large he dragged it along the floor.

The bear underwent a surgery in 2016 but the swelling returned.

He just underwent another four-hour operation by a team that included Heather Bacon from the University of Edinburgh.

Veterinary surgeon Hannah joined with veterinary nurse Caroline Nelson at the Animals Asia's Bear Rescue Centre in Vietnam and Romain Pizzi from Wildlife Surgery International to make a plan for the second surgery.

The experts travelled to Myanmar with funding from the Winton Foundation for the Welfare of Bears and Free the Bears.


LiveScience reports that post-surgical pathology showed the swollen tongue may have been caused by elephantiasis, a swelling of tissue caused by parasitic worms that are transmitted through mosquito bites.

The condition is common in humans but has not been seen in bears.


Caroline Nelson, veterinary nurse with Animals Asia's Vietnam Bear Rescue Centre, said: "This was a really unusual medical condition – never before seen in any species of bear – but we weren't about to give up on Nyan htoo.

"Now he will be able to eat much more comfortably, sleep in more natural positions and move more freely for the rest of his life."

Bear has huge 3kg tongue removed

Nyan htoo is recovering nicely, according to the team. Heather Bacon said: "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."

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