1. ITV Report

Tapir with toothache treated by expert dentist

Toby the Tapir had to have surgery after cracking his tooth. Credit: Noah's Ark Zoo Farm

Keepers at Noah's Ark Zoo Farm in Somerset had to call in an expert after one of their tapirs cracked his tooth.

17-year-old Toby was checked over by the vet and it was decided the canine needed to be taken out to avoid causing him any further pain. The vet feared that, if untreated, the injury could get infected and become a serious health issue.

It takes a very special dentist to operate on a 200kg tapir but staff called in Dr Peter Kertesz - who had previously dealt with one of their tigers with toothache.

Dr Kertesz, who performed Toby's operation, founded Zoodent International, which helps zoo animals with dental problems. Credit: Noah's Ark Zoo Farm

As Tapirs have such large canines the Dr Kertesz actually had to remove a small piece of upper jaw bone to extract the tooth.

“We are very happy at the success of the operation and that Toby is recovering well. It was a pleasure to work with Peter again.”

– Emma Godsell, Tapir keeper

While Toby was undergoing surgery, his other half Tara stood patiently outside, calling for him.

Although all surgeries are risky, the team had the tooth out in less than two hours. Toby recovered quickly and went back in the enclosure with Tara - it took hardly any time before he was munching happily again.

  • Watch 'Saving Toby's Smile'

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Toby and Tara can be seen in action with all the other animals at Noah's Ark Zoo Farm in Wraxall, on the outskirts of Bristol.