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Huge relief as Galaxy bear declared cancer free

03 June 2014

Galaxy's ultrasound

A hugely emotional day at Nanning Bear Farm today - as a bear suspected of having liver cancer was dramatically given the all clear.

Despite a huge appetite, bear workers and vets had noticed Galaxy remained extremely thin -  often a tell-tale sign of tumours. Since starting the surgeries yesterday, concern for Galaxy had continued to hang over the team. Vet Surgeon Jen O’Dwyer, Senior Vet Nurse Wendy Leadbeater and Vet Nurse Vicki Elliott had suspected Galaxy’s condition could be inoperable.

The team, whose every move was being followed by supporters via social media, began a thorough physical examination, before Jen began the ultrasound scans (pictured above).  With gas at first obscuring the results, tension heightened. However a second scan was able to give Galaxy the all clear. The relief was palpable, although blood tests were taken for further investigation.

Galaxy would also have four teeth removed.

Galaxy's second ultrasound which gave her the all clear

Earlier in the day Milly bear had also been health checked, with her paws shocking the vet team. The first concern was seeing that Milly had been declawed at “fingertip” level on both her front paws. The back paws were concerning too as the nails had grown abnormally long, with one ingrowing claw piercing right through the pad and causing her immense pain. Vets battling heat and limited facilities now also had the extreme smell of a literally rotting pad to contend with. It is unknown whether or not Milly underwent this declawing process before she arrived at Nanning.

Jen and Vicki and Milly

A surprise visitor arrived in the shape of Mr Yan (below) - the man who stopped bear bile farming at Nanning Bear Farm once he became General Manager and who would go on to first approach Animals Asia for their help. He closely watched Galaxy’s health check and dental, taking multiple pictures and asking questions until Galaxy received the all clear.

Mr Yan anxious during Galaxy's health check

Later, having completed another seven-hour stint at temperatures well over 30 degrees centigrade, the vets were to pack up for the day. 

Animals Asia founder Jill Robinson:

“Today was just so incredibly emotional. We knew there was every chance we could end the day with a bear being euthanised.  To find that Galaxy was cancer free was a tremendous relief and it seems she needs nothing more than proper ‘bear sized’ meals to help her gain weight.  With our worst fears now over, it’s lifted a dark cloud from all in the team. Tonight everyone is absolutely exhausted but very happy too.  Every day of examining these bears is a roller coaster and tomorrow will undoubtedly see more surprises in store.”

See also:

Nanning Diaries Live

Vets Battle Immense Heat for the Moon Bears

Galaxy being brought to operating room