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Munich baby elephant first to get heart surgery

The Local · 20 Jan 2012, 06:00

Published: 20 Jan 2012 06:00 GMT+01:00

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“This is the only chance the little on has to survive,” said Christiane Reiss, spokeswoman for Hellabron zoo.

Keepers first thought the three-month-old elephant had a cold when she seemed to be tired and short of breath in December – but tests revealed her heart defect which has resulted in a dangerous blood clot in part of her heart.

She was drinking only water – but keepers have been milking her mother and feeding her with it by hand.

A team of vets and surgeons who usually work on people is being assembled to tackle what will be a complicated operation – and the first in the world carried out on an elephant.

“The operation will be carried out primarily by an interdisciplinary team of heart surgeons, cardiologists and anaesthesiologists from the University of Munich with expertise in human and animal medicine,” said Reiss.

It’s still not clear when the surgery will take place – workers are currently fixing up an on-location operating room for the procedure.

“Lola is showing she still has the will to live, although she is very sick,” said zoo Director Andreas Knieriem, promising not to put her down.

He admitted the operation might not work, but said everyone involved was determined to try to save Lola.

Story continues below…

“If what will specialists say will certainly be a difficult operation offers us the only hope, we will attempt the surgery in order to save Lola’s live. We have all fallen for her.”

DPA/DAPD/The Local/mdm

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

20:15 January 20, 2012 by johnny108
Amazing- in America, there was a recent story about a 2-year old girl whose parents were told she can't have heart surgery, because she is not expected to have a long life, anyway................
22:19 January 20, 2012 by zeddriver

It's not so amazing when one looks at it in the context of the earth first ecomentalism that is all the fad these days. Animals, trees, and shrubbery equals good. People bad.

I bare no ill will towards the little pachyderm. But given the amount of money that will be spent on this 'shot in the dark' I would think the same monies could be better spent providing medical care for a needy family.
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