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World-first brain surgery performed on kākāpō parrot
The young chick is said to have made a ‘remarkable recovery’ from the surgery.

Endangered chick has made a ‘remarkable recovery’, vets say 

Vets in New Zealand have performed world-first brain surgery on an endangered kākāpō parrot, adapting techniques from human medicine.

The wild-hatched chick, now 60 days old, was born with a developmental problem of the skull.

Rangers from the department of conservation’s Kākāpō Recovery Team noticed an unusual lump on the bird’s skull just after hatching. A CT scan at the Dunedin Wildlife Hospital revealed the plates of the skull had not completely fused.

Professor Brett Gartrell, director of Massey University’s Wildbase Hospital, said: “The chick was hatched with a hole in its skull that allowed part of the brain and dura (the tough barrier around the brain) to herniate out.”

Led by Prof Gartrell, a team of veterinary surgeons and technicians made an elliptical incision around the area and reflected a flap of skin, allowing them to dissect out the herniated dura.

They were unable to reduce the herniated tissue back into the skull so a small piece of brain and dura were clamped and a small square of synthetic mesh was sutured over the open fontanelle. The mesh graft was then infused with bone marrow.

The chick is said to have made a ‘remarkable recovery’ and has been paired up with another chick at the Dunedin Wildlife Hospital, to reduce the risk of it imprinting on humans.

Image © Massey University

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AWF Student Grant open for submissions

News Story 1
 Applications are open for the Animal Welfare Foundation (AWF) Student Grant Scheme for innovative research projects designed to impact animal welfare.

Undergraduate and postgraduate students of veterinary science, veterinary nursing, agriculture studies and animal welfare are invited to submit their proposals to undertake research projects next year.

Grants are decided based on the project’s innovation, relevance to topical animal welfare issues and ability to contribute towards raising animal welfare standards. For more information visit animalwelfarefoundation.org.uk.  

Click here for more...
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SPANA chef executive Geoffrey Dennis said: "We are so grateful to Deborah, Peter and Brian for lending their voices to our new film, and for speaking up for millions of working animals overseas. SPANA believes that a life of work should not mean a life of suffering, and it is only thanks to people’s generosity and support that we can continue our vital work improving the lives of these animals."