BALTIMORE (WJZ) — The National Zoo’s younger panda cub, Bei Bei, is stable and recovering following an emergency bowel obstruction surgery to remove a dense, masticated lemon-sized mass of bamboo.

“I’m extremely proud and thankful for our team of keepers, veterinarians, animal care staff, volunteer medical experts and all staff who have helped facilitate the urgent response,” said Director Dennis Kelly. “Bei Bei’s prognosis is very good. The challenge will be for our team to monitor him safely and that requires his cooperation. We will keep everyone up to speed as he recovers.”

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On Thanksgiving, Bei Bei started to show signs of stomach discomfort and nausea. He was sleeping more than normal and not eating.

He was given an anti-nausea medication injection and remained under observation. Zoo animal care and veterinary staff observed him closely throughout the day and made periodic checks overnight to monitor his condition.

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The next morning, Bei Bei was taken to the vet hospital for further evaluation. Dr. Elyshia Hankin, board-certified veterinary radiologist at the Friendship Hospital for Animals, performed an ultrasound of his stomach and bowels, which revealed a blockage at the top of the small intestine. Following an initial endoscopic exploration, it was clear to the veterinary team that the mass would not resolve itself on its own and the blockage needed to be removed surgically.

Volunteer Dr. Sebastian Gordon, a board-certified veterinary surgeon from Lazar Veterinary Surgery, performed life-saving surgery to remove the mass of bamboo that was distending the small intestine and preventing intestinal movement.

On Saturday, Bei Bei and his mother, Mei Xiang, were allowed to see each other again in their enclosure at the zoo.

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