Root Canal Performed on Siberian Tiger
A root canal was recently performed by an endodontist on a full-grown Siberian tiger, The Associated Press reports.
Dr. Doug Luiten, from Anchorage, Alaska, worked on the 300-pound, 7-foot long tiger named Kunali at the Alaska Zoo on Thursday.
"It's the longest tooth I've ever worked on," Luiten said to AP of the more than three-inch (8 centimeter) canine.
Before the root canal surgery could be performed, the zoo had to order special instruments to accommodate the longer tooth and even had to modify those during the procedure. Kunali was not restrained and did not wake up during the hour-long procedure thanks to anesthesia administered by Dr. David Brunson, a visiting veterinarian from Madison, Wis.
"He was a good boy, he handled things well," Brunson told AP.
Kunali needed the surgery after he fractured the tooth 4 or 5 years ago. "They're not chewing on things that break their teeth easily, but they're wrestling around," Dr. Riley Wilson, the zoo's veterinarian, told AP. "It takes some trauma to chip that big of a tooth."
And while the fractured tooth didn't appear to cause Kunali any distress, Luiten told AP that a root canal would give him long-term protection against infection.
When asked how the surgery went, Alaska Zoo Executive Director Pat Lampi told AP that Kunali was doing fine.
"It couldn't have gone any better today, it was perfect," Wilson told AP.