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San Diego Zoo panda has incurable heart problem

  • KIM YUEN / 2012

    San Diego Zoo says Gao Gao had a medical checkup Tuesday and was found to have pulmonic stenosis, a narrowing of the pulmonary heart valve.

SAN DIEGO » An elderly giant panda at the San Diego Zoo has been diagnosed with an incurable heart problem.

The zoo says Gao Gao had a medical checkup Tuesday and was found to have pulmonic stenosis, a narrowing of the pulmonary heart valve.

Gao Gao was put on medication and is responding well to the treatment, but the condition is progressive. It’s most commonly the result of a birth defect.

The zoo says symptoms can include a heart murmur and fatigue. Gao was diagnosed with a heart murmur three years ago.

The panda, who’s about 26 years old, also has high blood pressure.

Gao Gao and two other pandas are on loan to the zoo from China. Only 1,600 are believed to remain in the wild.

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  • This giant panda is so valuable and worth so much, how about they use the latest technology and materials make a custom panda heart valve and perform heart surgery with the very best vet surgeons in the US to replace his defective valve with an artificial valve. Even if the manufacture of the custom valve and surgery cost over a million dollars, a couple more years of survival of this panda would easily pay off this bill with zoo admission for the thousands of people who go to the San Diego zoo just to see the pandas. Pandas outside of China are so rare, San Diego and just a few other zoo’s have panda’s loaned from China. Also if the giant panda survives the operation and lives a decent live for a few more years, China should forgive the rent that the San Diego zoo pays for each panda, which is something like a million per year. or at least give the zoo a big discount since giant pandas from China in any zoo is all about the $$$$$$$.

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