SACRAMENTO, Calif. (CBS/AP) — A Sumatran tiger successfully underwent surgery at the Sacramento Zoo on Tuesday to remove obstructions caused by stones in its urinary tract.
It’s not every day you get to peek inside the operating room to watch a rare tiger get medical treatment. Surgeons from the University of California, Davis, School of Veterinary Medicine and the zoo began performing the minimally invasive procedure early Tuesday on the tiger.
The big cat, whose name is Castro, was also diagnosed with cancer earlier this year. It was wakening out of surgery and awakening in its den at about 2:30 p.m., zoo officials and doctors said.
Harrison Edell, general curator of the Sacramento Zoo, said zoo officials were upbeat about the tiger’s chances for recovery.
“We’re hoping this surgery will much improve his comfort level and his quality of life,” said Harrison Edell, The Sacramento Zoo’s general curator. “We know he’s uncomfortable with urinary stones, so by installing these stents, they’re going to allow him to pass those stones.”
Castro has lived at the zoo for more than a decade. Earlier this year he was diagnosed with lymphoma. Today’s procedure gives doctors the chance to see how chemotherapy drugs have been working.
“Initially with his cancer — he was very anemic — he has a paxel volume of 17, which should be 40. So that shows us he’s responding really well to his chemotherapy,” said zoo veterinarian Ray Wack.
Surgery lasted for about an hour and a half and doctors expect Castro to make a full recovery.
Sumatran tigers are critically endangered. There are only 700 of them left in the world and 200 live in zoos.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.