Monday, March 12, 2007

Maryland Zoo's Baby Penguin Gets Novel Operation

When workers at the zoo noticed the penguin stumbling shortly after he was born they began a slew of tests to examine his condition. Veterinarians found the bird's vertebrae were angled abnormally. At first they thought he might still be able to function normally because they had seen a similar but less-serious problem before.

"We were wrong; he started having trouble walking and eventually was tumbling over," Bradford said.

Zoo veterinarians sent the yet to be named penguin - whose coat will remain gray until he reaches adulthood - to get an MRI at the IAMS Pet Imaging Center in Northern Virginia. The imaging confirmed what veterinarians feared, the hump on his back was the result of vertebrae misalignment, resulting in the need for a complicated procedure - the first of its kind for a penguin.

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