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article imageRare white kiwi undergoes surgery

By Lynn Curwin     Nov 2, 2011 in World
Manukura, a rare white kiwi at a wildlife centre in New Zealand, is recovering following surgery to remove a stone from her intestines.
After rangers at the Pukaha Mount Bruce wildlife centre noticed the five-month-old bird wasn't eating she was x-rayed at Wellington Zoo and two stones were found in her digestive tract.
She was given intravenous fluids and a high protein diet, and was able to pass one of the stones, but a laser was needed to break up the second one - which was then removed with an endoscope.
Dr Rod Studd, who usually works on human prostates and said the bird's surgery was the most unusual one he had performed, worked with the veterinarians.
"This procedure is not unlike the removal of kidney and gall stones (in humans). The procedure was one and one half hours long and she gave the medical team (and media) in the room a bit of a scare when her heart suddenly slowed," states a message on the Pukaha Mount Bruce wildlife centre's web site.
Before the surgery, Dr Lisa Argilla, of Wellington Zoo, gave Manukura a 70 per cent chance of surviving surgery.
"Infection is an ongoing worry because even a tiny tear in the stomach can cause blood poisoning and become fatal," she told the New Zealand Herald.
At one point during surgery the tiny bird's heartbeat was not audible and drugs were injected to speed up her heart rate.
Dr Argilla said there was still a risk of infection because of the grazes caused by the stone, but added that she would not have survived if nothing had been done.
"It would have pretty much jammed up her intestine or it could have caused other perforation which tears the intestine," Stuff quoted her as saying.
"It looked pretty tiny when you pull it out but with the size of the bird, I guess you could compare it to a human having eaten a golf ball."
Manukura is a North Island brown kiwi who is white because of a genetic mutation. She is thought to be the world's only white kiwi.
Videos about Manukura's surgery can be seen on the 3 News website.
Information about Manukura and the other animals at the centre can also be found on their Facebook page.
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