There’s a bear recovering at the University of Edinburgh’s School of Veterinary Studies that had to have emergency surgery to remove its tongue after it had become so monstrous, it hung out of its mouth and dragged on the floor.
Just to give you some perspective, the bear’s tongue grew so large, it weighed 6.5 pounds!
“I’ve worked with bears for over 10 years, and I’ve never seen anything like it,” Heather Bacon from the University of Edinburgh said. “It’s pretty astonishing.”
The bear is reportedly an Asiatic black bear, and was rescued by monks from a monastery in Myanmar. Not long after saving the bear, they realized something wasn’t quite right, and contacted somebody for help.
Having not heard of anything like it, Bacon, along with several other vet specialists, traveled to Myanmar to get a look at the bear.
After an examination, the veterinary team came to the conclusion that the swelling may have been caused by a mosquito-transmitted infection called elephantiasis – a condition commonly found in people in Myanmar, but never before documented in bears.
According to The Guardian, the doctors had a long discussion about what was best for the bear in the long run, and ultimately decided to move forward with the procedure to remove the bear’s tongue.
“We had a lot of discussion and debate because it’s a major surgery that you cannot undo, but we felt in terms of his quality of life it was the best way to give him as normal a life as possible,” continued Bacon. “Having to carry around [6.5 pound] of tongue is not normal and that’s a lot of weight on his jaw and head. Also, since he was dragging it around on the floor, from a hygiene point of view it’s pretty unpleasant, and he couldn’t even close his mouth. Now he should be able to close his mouth and manipulate food.”