Watch: Baby Gibbon, Mom Cuddle After Cancer Treatment - NBC Southern California

Watch: Baby Gibbon, Mom Cuddle After Cancer Treatment

Ricky the gibbon receives six doses of radiation with the same machine used by humans



    Ricky the Gibbon Clings to Baby After Cancer Treatment

    Ricky, a 25-year-old gibbon, is undergoing cancer treatment at a Culver City animal hospital. Her baby can be seen hugging her after a therapy session. The video was sent to NBC4 on Tuesday, Sept. 23, 2014. (Published Wednesday, Sept. 24, 2014)

    A fragile 25-year-old gibbon named Ricky has been getting extra hugs from her baby since receiving cancer treatment at the same Culver City building Gordo the dog was treated, veterinarians said.

    Ricky was born in Australia and has been living in Southern California for about 20 years, according to the Gibbon Conservation Center in Santa Clarita.

    She was diagnosed with a soft tissue sarcoma of the left ankle earlier this year and is now undergoing radiation therapy to kill the cancer cells, said Dr. Jarred Lyons, a veterinary radiation oncologist involved with her treatment.

    Ricky had previous surgery to remove the mass, but it grew back.

    While the exotic animal needs to be sedated for each radiation session, that doesn't stop her baby gibbon from tagging along during the treatment.

    "(The baby) wonders where her mom is during the 20 minutes of the operation," Lyons said.

    A post-treatment video shows veterinarians reuniting Ricky with her baby and wrapping the pair in blankets as the baby tightly hugs her mother.

    Ricky is receiving six doses of radiation at the Veterinary Cancer Group using a Trilogy linear accelerator, the same radiation machine used by humans during cancer treatment. The machine is the only one of its kind in private veterinary practice, Lyons said.

    "She is doing great now, and she's reunited with her baby," he said.

    Ricky's treatment is going well, Lyons said, and the next therapy session is scheduled for Sept. 30.

    Gibbons are normally found in rainforests in India, Indonesia, and China. Most of the 19 recognized species of gibbon are endangered, according to the Gibbon Conservation Center.

    Anyone who wishes to donate to Ricky's treatment expenses can contact the Gibbon Conservation Center.

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