Open wide, puma dentist faces up to his biggest challenge

May 14, 2010 | by | 0 Comments

This brave dentist was feline brave after removing four teeth from an adult PUMA.

Fierce big cat Demelza had been suffering from gum disease and was sedated and transported in a special ambulance to the veterinary school at Cambridge University.

Experienced animal dentist Peter Fordyce, who usually works with domestic cats, then performed the dental surgery on the 12-year-old feline.

Demelza, who has lived at Shepreth Wildlife Park, Cambs., for nine years, had been treated for her dental problems by a zoo vet last year but was still suffering.

Her keepers decided to take her to the experts at the school and after her two hour operation, were thrilled with her ”significant progress”.

During her dental work, it was also discovered that she had an eye infection, which was treated by eye specialist David Williams from the Cambridge Vet School at the same time.

The feline was then escorted back to her enclosure at the wildlife park seemingly unaware of her trip to the operating theatre.

Peter said he had enjoyed the challenge and there were a few noticeable differences when working with the Demelza.

He said: ”It was fascinating to do dental work on a puma, as I normally work with ordinary domestic cats.

”It was remarkable how similar the structure of the mouth is between a domestic cat and a puma, and how similar the puma’s problems were to those seen in people’s pets.

”The biggest difference was the sheer size of the teeth.”

Zoo vet Peter Aylme, who previously removed one of Demelza’s teeth, said she was doing well after her unconventional treatment.

He said: ”It is still early days, but we have already seen a significant improvement in Demelza’s feeding behaviour since her trip to the dentist.”

”We are all very grateful to our vet and everyone at the vet school who have played an important role in Demelza’s treatment.”

The pampered puma is now having her meat cut into handy bite sized chunks to make it easier for her to eat.

Pumas hold the record as the mammals with the most common names, with over 40 in English alone including mountain lion, mountain cat, catamount or panther.

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