November 22, 2008

Mexican jaguar gets dental work in Phoenix

A jaguar from Mexico recently had dental work done at the zoo in Phoenix by a father-son team.

The Arizona Republic reported Saturday that veterinary dentist Chris Visser and his son Louis, a dentist who normally works on humans, performed four root canals and three extractions on the big cat.

The newspaper said an armed man stood watch as a total of six doctors worked on the cat's mouth just in case it unexpectedly came out of anesthesia.

The big cat reportedly damaged its teeth trying to gnaw its way out of a metal cage after being trapped by a rancher. The jaguar, estimated to be 3 or 4 years old, broke all four of its canine teeth and ground down three incisors trying to escape.

The tooth damage resulted in infection that could kill the animal, said Dr. Benjamin Alcantar of the Centro Ecologico de Sonora, the zoo in Hermosillo, Mexico, that housed the cat after officials confiscated it from the rancher.