Brookfield Zoo performs groundbreaking surgery for 10-year-old Amur tiger

CHICAGO (WLS) -- An Amur tiger received groundbreaking hip replacement surgery at Brookfield Zoo Wednesday.

Malena, the 10-year-old endangered tiger, is receiving a total hip replacement due to arthritis. Veterinarians determined a total hip replacement was the best course of action, due to the severity of the lesions and Malena's age. This is believed to be the first time the surgery is being performed in North America.

Zoo caretakers knew Malena had arthritis when she arrived at the Brookfield Zoo in June While arthritis not uncommon in big cats, when Malena underwent a CT scan the doctors at Brookfield were startled by the severity of her case and the degree of damage it had already caused.

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Malena was given a custom-made implant that was designed and manufactured to fit her perfectly. As she could live for another six years, the surgery should significantly reduce her pain and improve her comfort and quality of life.

The surgery took place at the zoo's animal hospital, with doctors calling it a "great team effort."

Amur tigers were formerly known as Siberian Tigers.
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