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Dental Day (part 1)

Wednesday, September 29, 2010 2:25pm
dental day 01.JPG dental day 02.JPG

Even orangutans have to go to the dentist sometimes. When the keepers noticed that Karta seemed to have a sore tooth, they booked her into the vets to have it looked at.

Adelaide Zoo uses a specialist dentistry veterinarian from Melbourne when animals have the need for major dental work. Dr David came over to Adelaide to do procedures, not only on Karta’s sore tooth but also work on Tuan, our male Sumatran Tiger, and also have a look at Akbar, our male Sun Bear .

Karta was first off the ranks and, as you can probably imagine, she needed to be fully sedated to have the work done. To make the sedation process as simple as possible, Karta’s keepers had spent over 2 months training her to take the medication. We used a special technique as the medication Karta needed to take works best if it is absorbed through the mouth rather than through the stomach. So we taught Karta to suck some liquid from a cotton ball and give it back to us in exchange for a sultana. Then we would soak up more liquid with the cotton ball and repeat the process.

During the training we tried to make the liquid taste as bitter as we could so that on the day we had to hide the medicine in there, it would not be so bad. And on Dental Day Karta took the medicine beautifully.

Originally the dental vet thought that Karta may need a root canal on the offending tooth (ouch!) but in the end she had quite a bad infection in the tooth and it could not be saved, so the vet removed the tooth completely (still ouch!!). Karta also got a thorough clinical exam to check for any other health problems, but thankfully she is in perfect health (and we even trimmed her toe nails while we could).

She has had some long lasting pain relief so that her jaw does not hurt and is on antibiotics for 2 more weeks to ensure she does not get any infections. Karta is already eating well and no doubt feels much better.


Orangutan Keeper, Adelaide Zoo




How did Tuan's fertility testing go?
Posted By: G on Thursday, October 07, 2010 5:51pm

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