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May 23, 2013 1:48 AM by Associated Press

Surgeons remove tiger's basketball-sized hairball

CLEARWATER, Florida (AP) - It's not unusual for a cat to get a hairball, but a 400-pound (180-kilogram) tiger needed help from veterinary surgeons when he couldn't hack up a soccer ball-sized hairball by himself.

The 17-year-old tiger named Ty underwent the procedure Wednesday at a veterinary center in the Tampa Bay area community of Clearwater. Doctors said in a statement that they safely removed the 4-pound (1.8-kilogram) obstruction from Ty's stomach.

The tiger, which is cared for by Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation in Florida, was brought to veterinarians after not eating for nearly two weeks. Doctors said they detected the hairball using a scope with a camera.

Vernon Yates, whose nonprofit group regularly assists law enforcement agencies with seized animals, says he's thankful the hairball was removed and Ty is doing fine.

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