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Brave vets perform root canal treatment on 200kg tiger

Credit: Knowsley Safari

A team of specially trained vets have managed to carry out a root canal treatment on a tiger weighing nearly 200kg.

It took a highly trained team of 13 to perform the complex procedure on an Amur Tiger at Knowsley Safari in Merseyside.

Credit: Knowsley Safari

Kuzma, a 10 year old male Amur Tiger, had to have the treatment to repair and save his canine teeth.

The safari park say that the process followed similar techniques used for human dental surgery but was scaled up for the big cat.

Credit: Knowsley Safari

It took four and a half hours - and involved advanced dental techniques and "innovative use of bubble wrap mittens and duvets".

The process of anaesthesia naturally stops Kuzma regulating his temperature.

We created bubble wrap mittens and used duvets to keep him warm.

– Jen Quayle
Credit: Knowsley Safari

The vet at Knowsley Safari Jen Quayle said: “Tiger’s teeth are a bit like icebergs. The tooth that you see above the gum is just part of the story. The canine tooth’s root runs much deeper into the gum and in a tiger, as much as two thirds of the tooth is hidden inside the jawbone. The total length of the canines is nearly 10cm – about five times as long as a human’s canine root canal"

“Kuzma has responded really well and quickly tucked into his tea not long after the procedure.

Credit: Knowsley Safari

There are around 500 Amur Tigers left living in the wild, with numbers sent into decline by poaching and deforestation.

It's hoped that Kuzma will breed with female Amur Tigers as part of conservation efforts.

Credit: Knowsley Safari