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Veterinary experts come together to save Puntung’s life

Thursday, 20 April 2017

KOTA KINABALU: Puntung, one of the last three Sumatran rhinos in Malaysia, was awake and feeding within two hours of a successful life-saving operation by a global team of veterinary experts.

Rhino conservationists said this was incredible, but it was not out of the woods yet. Puntung had been suffering from an abscess in her jaw that would not heal despite being treated since the middle of March.

“This is a remarkable and successful operation that came about as a result of global discussion and multinational collaboration over the past two weeks,” Sabah Wildlife Department director Augustine Tuuga said in a statement yesterday.

He said Thai veterinary dentist Dr Tum Chinkangsadarn extracted 2 molars and 1 premolar from Puntung’s left upper jaw during the procedure, during which she was put under general anaesthesia for 110 minutes.

“The abscess was caused by the build-up of calcium salts on a molar that caused a bacterial infection, which also loosened two adjacent teeth,” Tuuga added.

Dr Tum, a team of doctors from the South Africa-based NGO, Saving the Survivors, and specialist veterinarians collaborated on the operation. Tuuga thanked Dr Tum and the team for doing a fantastic job, despite working together for the first time.

Dr Abraham Mathew, senior ve­terinarian from Singapore Zoo, helped with the anaesthesia while Dr Johan Marais and Dr Zoe Glyphis of Saving the Survivors initiated the planning, advised on the procedures and provided major financial support to ensure the team came together in Tabin for the operation.

“We had vets in attendance from my department, as well as the Department of Wildlife and Natio­nal Parks Peninsular Malaysia and Bora,” Tuuga said.

Source by: Internet

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