Say roaaaaar!

A specialist veterinary dentist was called for when keepers noticed our male Sumatran tiger, Joao, had broken one of his large lower canines.

Following consultation with the zoo’s veterinary team, it was decided a root canal procedure was needed and an expert veterinary dentist, who previously carried out treatment on chimpanzee, Barbie, here at the zoo, once again travelled from Manchester to work alongside our team on the 12-year-old big cat patient.

Zoo Curator Richard Brown, said: “We think Joao probably fractured the tooth while chewing on a meat bone and it was picked up by keepers during routine health checks.”

Just like in human teeth, a root canal is carried out when teeth are fractured and the sensitive tissue is exposed.

The procedure involves removing any bacteria and the tissue from the inside of the tooth and infilling it.

On the day, a makeshift operating theatre, complete with the specialist portable dentistry equipment was set up in one of the off-show tiger dens, which allowed the work to be carried out without having to transport Joao across the zoo site.

Richard said: “Joao was quickly anaesthetised thanks to the hand injection training he had received from keepers and the hour-long dentistry procedure went well.

“While he was sedated, we also took the opportunity to do a full health check as well as taking blood samples.

“Once complete, Joao was roused and was soon back to chewing his tasty bones!