Thu, August 23, 2012
Lifestyle > Society

Performing root canal work on a 12-year-old lion

2012-08-23 06:47:10 GMT2012-08-23 14:47:10(Beijing Time)

Life in the roar: Dentist surgeon Peter Kertesz, examines lioness Noname's three broken and infected teeth.(Photo/David Higgs)

Let sleeping lions lie: Nurse Karia Berry checks that the tranquilliser has worked properly. (Photo/David Higgs)

Whipsnade Zoo staff move anaesthetised lioness Noname, who weighs 165kg, into a den ready for dental treatment.(Photo/David Higgs)

Animal hospital: Peter, assistant Monika and Whipsnade Zoo staff during the operation.(Photo/David Higgs)

Whipsnade Zoo veterinary nurse Karla Berry checks huge cat for vital signs prior to the treatment.(Photo/David Higgs)

Open wide: Peter begins the delicate work of root filling the damaged teeth of the 12-year-old lioness.(Photo/David Higgs)

To ensure a happy patient, a specialist team is on hand to assist, including the zoo’s chief vet, Nic Masters, an anaesthetist, nurses and keepers.

First, to minimise any stress, a powerful tranquilliser is used, fired from a dart gun.

Once unconscious, the big cat is carried on a stretcher to an adjoining den that will be an improvised operating theatre. 

Peter and his assistant, Monika Mazurkiewicz, unload boxes and set up the equipment — a portable compressor to run an air drill, cables and custom-made hand files.

The lion is laid full length on the ‘operating table’ — a bed of straw bales.



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