KEITHVILLE, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – A chimpanzee is recovering after a Shreveport surgeon, who normally sees human patients, performed an operation to stabilize his broken jaw and remove two of his teeth.
It is assumed that Sparky the Chimp, a 34-year-old male, sustained a mandibular fracture while in an altercation with other chimps.
Ghali E. Ghali, DDS, MD, performed the surgery to repair the chimp’s injuries after officials at Chimp Haven asked the renowned oral and maxillofacial surgeon to help Sparky.
Officials at Chimp Haven described Sparky as a popular chimpanzee within his social group. Sparky is looked over by humans who work at Chimp Haven and believe we’re not that different from chimpanzees.
The facility is the largest chimpanzee sanctuary in the world and gives retired chimps the healthy, happy lives they deserve.
Ghali works with Willis-Knighton Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery Institute as a renowned oral and maxillofacial surgeon, but he is also experienced with performing surgery on chimpanzees.
Officials at Chimp Haven said that Sparky’s surgery is very similar to surgeries Ghali performs on humans. The surgery itself took a half hour.
Ghali and his entire team have performed three procedures on chimps at the sanctuary.
“I continue to be impressed by the facility and the dedication of the Chimp Haven staff and personnel in taking care of these primates,” said Ghali.
Chimp Haven’s clinical veterinarian, DaShaunte Coleman, DVM, said the organization is committed to providing a standard of care that sometimes requires advanced and specialized treatments for the chimps.
Coleman says Chimp Haven is fortunate and thankful to have Ghali’s wisdom during times when veterinary care and human medicine cross paths. She applauded his willingness to step outside of the usual boundaries of his practice to “provide services to a species, the chimpanzee, that has contributed so much to medicine as a whole.”