Tiger undergoes root canal surgery after suffering from toothache

A tiger with toothache is back to his best after undergoing a two-and-a-half-hour root canal surgery.

Staff at Lincolnshire Wildlife Park identified the issue when Skah, a seven-year-old Bengal tiger, was given a routine health check-up.

The surgery itself required a specialist, so the park brought in Gerhard Putter to perform the operation.

Mr Putter, from Specialist Dental Vet, said: “The left upper canine was fractured quite badly and half of the crown of the tooth was missing.

“The only real options are to extract the tooth or do root canal treatment, which is preferable and less traumatic, if possible.

“But either way it is pretty invasive stuff with a tooth that was about five inches long.”

Mr Putter typically treats cats and dogs across three My Family Vets clinics, but also has experience of working with tigers, lions, bears and leopards.

Skah the tiger
The issue was first identified last year (My Family Vets/PA)

He went to the park last year to view the facilities but, because of Covid restrictions, he was unable to return until last week.

He carried out the surgery alongside a specialist team that also included two anaesthetists from Knowsley Safari Park, a heart specialist, three other vets and a veterinary nurse.

“The whole procedure took about two and a half hours,” Mr Putter said.

“The anaesthesia went well, although he did start to wake up a bit towards the end.

Skah the tiger
Skah is one of nine Bengal tigers at Lincolnshire Wildlife Park (My Family Vets/PA)

“There is always a lot of pressure to get the procedure done successfully as getting big cats anaesthetised is always risky and there is concern if they are under for much longer than that.

“But they are beautiful animals and it is exciting to be so close to a tiger like that.

“I love what I do and am always happy when I am able to help like this.”

Skah, who weighs about 200kg, is one of nine Bengal tigers at Lincolnshire Wildlife Park.