A 22-year-old wombat successfully underwent an extremely rare hip replacement surgery in Australia and is expected to make a full recovery.
“I personally haven’t seen a hip issue in a wombat like this before,” Jenny McLellan, a veterinarian at the Adelaide Zoo, said in a video posted to YouTube by ITN Productions.
Cue up your best joke about wombats in Australia getting better health care than most people around the world.
Wanda the wombat is part of the Adelaide Conservation Ark program. The “Wombat Wranglers” team at the zoo seeks to provide researchers with a better understanding of the species, which spends the majority of the day living underground.
At 22, Wanda has already greatly exceeded the average lifespan of a wombat, which is typically five to 15 years — though there's reportedly a 25-year-old wombat named Chewbacca living in captivity in Japan.
Wanda’s physical condition deteriorated recently, forcing her to rely on one leg for movement. This is reportedly the first time a hip replacement surgery has been performed on an animal like this.
“In a dog and a cat, it’s pretty easy to do,” said specialist surgeon Scott Rose who helped perform the procedure. “If you have a wombat with a lot of musculature around their hips, the approach can be a little more challenging.”