Hamilton Zoo’s Sumatran Tiger Jaka Underwent Surgery On Tues
Hamilton Zoo Gets To The Root Of Tiger’s Problem
21 FEBRUARY 2013
For Immediate Release
Hamilton Zoo’s Sumatran Tiger Jaka Underwent Surgery On Tuesday For A Full Root Canal Procedure
Keepers noticed during regular checks inside his mouth that 13-year-old Jaka had chipped off part of his lower left canine tooth, exposing the root canal.
For Hamilton Zoo Veterinarian Mike Goold, surgery was absolutely necessary. If left unattended, the tooth would be at high risk of infection and a tooth root abscess might eventually develop.
“A Sumatran tiger’s canine tooth is about 18cm long and two-thirds of it is embedded in the lower jawbone. If an abscess did develop in a tooth of this depth and strength, the surgery would need to be much more invasive”.
Jaka was anaesthetised and taken to the Zoo vet clinic on Tuesday morning.
The root canal procedure involved drilling two holes in the 60mm wide crown of the tooth to allow for any dead material to be flushed away. X-rays were taken during the procedure to make sure the instruments had reached all the way down the tooth and to check that surrounding bone and tissues were healthy.
Finally, the tooth was filled with materials that set with UV light, just as in human dentistry.
Mr Goold said the operation went well and Jaka has made a full recovery.
“As the nerve in the tooth is dead, there was no pain associated with the procedure and Jaka had no discomfort eating once he recovered.”
Veterinary Dental Specialist Dr Russell Tucker came down from Auckland to perform the root canal. Dr Tucker generously donated his time and has done other dental work at Hamilton Zoo on the African wild dogs and chimpanzees.
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Photo caption: Jaka undergoing surgery with (L – R) Kylie Martin (Zoo Keeper/Vet Nurse), Mike Goold (Zoo Vet), Russell Tucker (Veterinary Dental Specialist), Cathy Pickering (Dental Assistant) and Kirsty Anderson (Dental Assistant). Picture taken by Trevor Penfold.