Hogle Zoo Orangutan to Undergo Cancer Removal Surgery

SALT LAKE CITY (July 22) – Utah’s Hogle Zoo’s male orangutan will undergo an operation on Tuesday, July 26, to remove tissue in an area of his breast that previously contained a cancerous mass. The operation, which will be performed on Zoo grounds at the L.S. Skaggs Animal Health Center, is a follow up to the Orangutan’s initial mass removal.
Media is invited to attend this exclusive procedure Tuesday, July 26 beginning promptly at 9 a.m. and last a period of 20 minutes at Hogle Zoo’s L.S. Skaggs Animal Health Center.
Hogle Zoo Associate Director-Animal Health Dr. Nancy Carpenter and Associate Veterinarian Dr. Erika Travis will team up with Dr. Leigh Neumayer, a surgeon specializing in breast disease from the University of Utah’s Huntsman Cancer Institute, to perform the procedure. Dr. Neumayer is a professor of surgery at the University of Utah School of Medicine, as well as a member of the multidisciplinary team treating breast cancer at Huntsman Cancer Institute.
As part of a routine exam in May a mass was removed from the breast area of the orangutan’s skin. Histopathology results showed that the mass was, in fact, mammary gland adenocarcinoma, or what is commonly referred to as a form of breast cancer.
Though the mass had been removed successfully, the orangutan was taken for a CT scan to the University of Utah Hospital. Following a review of the scan Dr. Neumayer recommended another surgery to remove additional tissue in the previously excised area, as well as an ellipse of skin.
Through research, the medical team at Hogle Zoo has yet to come across record of this type of breast cancer in any of the Great Ape species, male or female. According to the American Cancer Society, human males have a 1 in 1,000 risk of breast cancer.
During the procedure, Hogle Zoo’s orangutan will be anesthetized and the veterinary team will monitor the animal’s anesthesia levels and vital signs throughout the surgery.
Media planning to attend are asked to RSVP with Hogle Zoo Community Relations Coordinator Lindsey Sine by email at lsine@hoglezoo.org call (435) 602-9702 or (801) 584-1729.
Utah’s Hogle Zoo is one of only 223 accredited by the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA). Look for the AZA logo whenever you visit a zoo or aquarium as your assurance that you are supporting a facility dedicated to providing excellent care for animals, a great experience for you, and a better future for all living things. AZA is a leader in global wildlife conservation, and your link to helping animals in their native habitats. For more information visit www.aza.org.