Tacoma, a 13-year-old Siberian tiger, is shown in his enclosure at InSync Exotics animal preserve Monday, March 18, 2013, in Wylie, Texas. Tacoma is the first tiger in the US to go through a nerve surgery to alleviate pain caused from hip dysplasia. (AP Photo/John L. Mone)
WYLIE, Texas (AP) — A vet hopes groundbreaking surgery has relieved the arthritic hip pain of a 13-year-old Siberian tiger at a Texas sanctuary.
Tacoma is one of the 66 big cats at the In-Sync Exotics Wildlife Rescue and Education Center in suburban Dallas.
President Vicky Keahey says Tacoma has suffered from hip dysplasia for two years. The pain started to affect him four months ago when he stopped exercising and his hind leg muscles began to wither. All he did was sleep.
Dr. Toby Willis operated on Tacoma last week, cutting the nerves that carry pain impulses from his hip to his brain. Willis says the procedure, which has never before been performed in the U.S., should ensure the aging cat has less pain.
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