Lion feels better after root canals

By - Bad Breath Expert

SUMMARY: After undergoing six hours of dental surgery, a white lion named Aslanhas made a full recovery.

Posted: April 1, 2015

A rare white lion has made a full recovery from dental surgery, reported the Irish Examiner. The 9 year-old lion, named Aslan, lives just outside of Pretoria, South Africa, at the Kevin Richardson Wildlife Sanctuary, named after its operator. 

The surgery was a six-hour procedure that included one tooth extraction and three root canals. Richardson, an animal behaviorist and self-proclaimed "Lion Whisperer," was initially concerned about two rotting teeth that were causing Aslan significant pain. He observed a marked change in lion's mood and that's how he knew he had tooth pain. In response to the decaying canines, the animal became withdrawn, demonstrating signs of distress. Protecting, hunting and eating are capabilities inhibited by a lion's loss of teeth, Richardson said on the official page for Aslan's rescue. In turn, this incapacity translates to depression and a hampered bond between the pride.

The Lion Whisperer enlisted the help of veterinary dentist Dr. Gerhard Steenkamp, who estimated the surgery would take as many as four hours, which concerned Richardson, because anesthetizing a large animal for that time period carries a significant amount of risk. Adding to the worry, Dr. Steenkamp found found four teeth that needed care post-anesthetic, and the entire procedure took six hours.

Fortunately, the anesthetic had no ill effect on the lion, and the procedure was a success. Aslan recovered quickly and was reunited with his pride. The other lions welcomed him back without hesitation, in spite of Richardson's concerns that reintroduction wouldn't go smoothly, said The Daily Mail.

Had he been a wild lion, he likely would have died from losing use of his teeth. Instead, his appetite and eating capabilities have completely returned. His temperament is in good stead, with no sign of the the irritability and aggression that accompanied his pain. 

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