Here’s some news to sink your teeth into – Adelaide Zoo’s Mandrills have had a special trip to the dentist.
Adelaide Zoo’s Mandrill, Tabah, was first in line to see veterinary dentist Dr David Clarke at the zoo’s Animal Health Centre. Dr David flew in from Victoria to assist local veterinary dentist Dr Kirsten Hailstone in the assessment of these primate patients under general anaesthetic.
Veterinarian Ian Smith oversaw the procedures and said the team completed an incisor extraction on Tabah and assessed the progress of previous root canals.
“Where possible we undertake root canals because keeping a tooth intact has less impact on surrounding teeth and the bones of the jaw than removing a tooth.
“However Tabah had a broken tooth so in this case an extraction was the best treatment to make him more comfortable,” said Ian.
Tabah is the dominant male Mandrill at the zoo and his impressive canines measure around five centimetres long. For comparison, a lion’s canines measure around seven centimetres. Mandrill’s bare these huge canines as a way of greeting each other.
Next to see the dentist was female Mandrill, Niari, who had further root canal work.
“These procedures were follow up to dental work that Niari and Tabah had in February, and we’re really happy with the progress.
“Niari and Tabah are at the stage in life where it’s common to need some dental maintenance and it’s great to see they’ve responded well to treatment, getting straight back into eating normally.”
Animals in Zoos SA’s care may only undergo general anaesthetic once every few years, so the vet team also took the opportunity to complete a full health check on the Mandrills. This involved assessing ears, eyes, skin and taking blood.
The primates recovered well from their procedures and have settled back into their habitats.
Mandrills have 32 teeth, just like humans. Sadly, Mandrills are listed as endangered to extinction on the IUCN Red List. Each time the public visit their primate pals at Adelaide Zoo, they’re supporting Zoos SA’s vital conservation work to save species for future generations.