Edinburgh Uni vets helped amputate 3kg tongue from bear
Poor thing. Source: Twitter/@standardnews

Yup, you read that right.

Vets from the University of Edinburgh’s Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies’ got together with a couple of local vets to help remove a 3 kilogram tongue from a bear in Myanmar, USA Today reported.


The procedure took four hours in sweltering tropical temperature. But it all worked out and Nyan too, as the bear is called, can look forward to a much better quality of life.

Heather Bacon of the Jeanne Marchig International Centre for Animal Welfare Education in Edinburgh said: “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.

“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,” Bacon added.

Nyan htoo, the moon bear or Asiatic Black Bear, had been dragging his tongue around the floor before the surgery as it had swollen to that ginormous size, a condition that vets believe could have been caused by elephantiasis, a mosquito-transmitted disease common in the region.

Vets have noticed Nyan suffering from his condition since he was rescued as a cub from being sold in China, together with his brother Kan htoo.


Though they tried to remove the excess tissue last year, Nyan’s tongue swelled up again, to the point that it continued to be injured against his teeth and Nyan having to rest his head on his cage bars because it was just too heavy.

This prompted Bacon to work together with Caroline Nelson, a veterinary nurse at the Animals Asia Bear Rescue Centre in Vietnam, and Romain Pizzi from Wildlife Surgery International, on a plan to help alleviate Nyan’s pain.

Nelson described it as a “really unusual” medical condition, unseen before in any bear species.

But she’s happy to have helped Nyan get a better quality of life, saying: “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.”

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