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Mizzou surgeon operates on tiger


By Adam Allington, KWMU

Columbia, MO – Last week surgeons at the University of Missouri Medical Teaching Hospital completed a six hour operation to repair a tiger's deformed front legs.

The procedure was similar to corrective measures used on humans; however it was never tried on a large cat.

The patient, named Sulley, was a two year old Bengal Tiger. His leg deformities were the result of malnourishment as a cub in the carnival circuit. Sulley and his siblings were part of a "photo-for-money" trade that exploits exotic animals.

Dr. Derek Fox is a veterinarian at the U-M Medical Teaching hospital. He operated on the tiger for over six hours to correct his crooked joints.

"He had a very crooked fore-limb, between the elbow and the wrist, we cut those bones in a number of spots to make those crooked bones straight."

Fox says that the surgeons were able to adapt procedures previously used on both humans and animals such as dogs.

"Sulley's deformity was actually very similar to what we see in dogs just on a much bigger scale," says Fox. "The surgery was a struggle, just because of the strength of the muscle surrounding the bone."

U-M Columbia is home to the "Mizzou Tigers for Tigers" campaign which raises funds for the university's endangered mascot.