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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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Big Butterfly Count returns

News Story 1
 The world's biggest survey of butterflies is back for 2020!

Butterfly Conservation's Big Butterfly Count launches on Friday, 17 July and will run until Sunday 9 August. Members of the public can get involved by downloading the Big Butterfly Count App or recording results on a downloadable sheet available from bigbutterflycount.org/.

'It's a fantastic activity for people from three to 103 years and we'd encourage everyone to take 15 minutes in an appropriate outdoor space during sunny conditions to simply appreciate the nature around them and do their bit to help us understand butterfly populations,' said a Butterfly Conservation spokesperson. 

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News Shorts
New appointment at Dechra

Dechra Veterinary Products Ltd (Dechra) has announced a key appointment to support veterinary professionals across Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

Karen Hockley has been appointed as a telesales account manager and will provide the latest products, news and developments from Dechra. She joins the company from a large mixed practice in Northern Ireland where she was the branch manager.

Before that, Karen had worked for a multinational veterinary pharmaceutical company as a key account manager for Northern Ireland. She can be contacted at karen.hockley@dechra.com or 087 219 54 30.