Zoo Animal to Undergo Surgery

Wednesday, October 5, 2005; 11:24 AM

Doctors at the National Zoo in Washington will operate on of its Rothschild's giraffes today to remove a large, lemon-sized tumor.

Zoo veterinary and animal care staff first noticed the lump about one month ago during a training session with the animal. Zoo officials say fluid drained from the tumor indicates it's a skin cancer known as basal cell carcinoma.

A team of zoo staff and other experts will anesthetize the giraffe and remove the lump. Veterinarians say the giraffe's long neck makes anesthesia especially complicated. Giraffes have a tendency to regurgitate, which can be fatal while under anesthesia.

Zoo officials will hold a news conference this afternoon to provide an update.

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