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Mascha’s hernia operated successfully



16 year old female Mascha has been suffering from a umbilical hernia. A specialist from Berlin recently performed an operation to rectify this. Mascha, who has been living in the German FOUR PAWS bear sanctuary since 2006, made it through the procedure without any problems and is in good health.

During a routine check-up in 2009, bear keepers had discovered a swelling the size of a walnut on Mascha’s belly. Dr. Göritz of the renowned Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research (IZW) was consulted, who diagnosed a umbilical hernia which at this point was no cause for concern. A umbilical hernia constitutes a gap in the supporting layers of the abdominal wall. This phenomenon can also be congenital. As long as the gap stays small, a hernia tends to be harmless. But once it gets bigger, it may well result in a more severe medical condition which does necessitate an operation.

Surgery without complications

Mascha, who was raised in inappropriate conditions in Eastern Germany along with her companion Otto, has been under surveillance since the diagnosis. Experts at BEAR PARK Müritz were unwilling to expose her to unnecessary strain and decided to monitor the condition. Recently, the swelling grew visibly and the decision was made to arrange an operation with Dr. Göritz. Mascha was anaesthetised and lifted onto a custom- made operating table by six helpers. The vet operated on the bear for five hours – and there were no complications whatsoever. Subsequently, Mascha needed a few hours to recover from the anaesthesia, but soon returned to her familiar daily routine. In the upcoming weeks she and her companions will prepare for hibernation.