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Panda cub that died had lung problem

Oct. 11, 2012 at 1:50 PM

WASHINGTON, Oct. 11 (UPI) -- A panda cub that died at the National Zoo in Washington last month had a lung problem that caused liver failure, zoo officials said.

Suzan Murray, the zoo's chief veterinarian, said the cub's lungs were not fully formed, leading to a lack of oxygen in the bloodstream and eventually caused necrosis, or a hardening of the liver that proved fatal for the six-day-old cub.

The Washington Post reports the cub's mother, Mei Xiang, seems to be getting back to normal. She recently stopped carrying around a toy zookeepers gave her after the cub died. Mei Xiang's appetite has also returned and the rare black and white bear is again eating a full compliment of bamboo and fruits.

Mei Xiang is 14, middle-aged for pandas, but zookeepers said there's no reason she can't become pregnant again.

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