Elton the Amur tiger heads to the dentist

Have you every wondered what happens when a tiger needs to see the dentist?

Keepers recently noticed that Elton the Amur tiger had caused damage to his upper right canine, so a specialist dentist was called in to take a look at it.

The Carnivore keepers are trained to spot the smallest health issues with their animals, so it was picked up quickly that Elton's tooth was causing him some discomfort.

Dr. Peter Kertesz is a leading expert in zoological dentistry and he was contacted to come and repair the broken tooth.

Eltons Tooth Filling

Woburn Safari Park's vets were in attendance and Elton was darted with a sedative by qualified vet, Nathalie Wissink-Argilaga, and quickly fell asleep. He was then hooked up to oxygen and an IV drip to keep him hydrated, before the dentist started to survey the damage.

Elton's upper right canine was badly infected caused by a crack in the tooth. It was decided that the tooth would be thoroughly cleaned out and then the gaps filled in to prevent any further infection. The filling was then moulded to fit a 'tooth shape' so that minimum discomfort would be felt by Elton.

After the right tooth had been repaired, it was decided that the left tooth would also be filled. Due to the lack of dental x-rays available, Dr. Kertesz wanted to err on the side of caution and made the decision to remove a very small piece at the bottom of Elton's left canine to survey any potential damage inside the root canal. The root canal was then filled to prevent any possible infections in the future.

After the dental operation was complete, vet Nathalie administered an anti-sedative which would help wake Elton back up. Within a few minutes, Elton was awake, albeit very sleepy! Elton then slept on and off for the next 24 hours - a completely natural reaction to the general anaesthetic. 

Elton Sleeping Off The Sedation

Woburn Safari Park were joined on the day by CBBC children's programme 'Newsround'. Click Here to watch their short film from the day.