Dental Vets Carry Out Root Canal Treatment on 28 Stone Gorilla

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A team of vets has carried out root canal treatment on one of the UK’s largest gorillas. Pertinax, a 28 stone silverback gorilla, was treated at Paignton Zoo last week.

Vet Jo Raynard was part of a team of vets who treated Pertinax. Jo said the procedure was recommended following examinations that revealed Pertinax had a fractured tooth. When the tooth is broken, there is a risk of the pulp tissue becoming infected, which increases the risk of pain and may lead to the development of abscesses. The root canal procedure involves removing the pulp and replacing it with biocompatible material and helps to maintain strength in the tooth, whilst also reducing the risk of infection.

In order to ensure Pertinax was in safe hands, the zoo team drafted in specialist animal dentist Peter Kertesz, who has travelled all over the world treating giant mammals and is famed for his expertise in this field.

Peter said that essentially, the procedures are very similar to human treatment but the size of the animal makes life more complicated and good teamwork is essential. Peter was assisted by a team of vets from Paignton Zoo and dental nurse Monika Mazurkiewicz.

Following the procedure, which took around 40 minutes, Pertinax was recovering well under the watchful eyes of his keepers. After treatment, he was a little drowsy and grumpy, but by the following day he was back to his usual sprightly self.

Image credit: Apex News and Pictures

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