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Open widerrrr… ageing tiger undergoes lengthy dental op

Love your tiger teeth:
Veterinary dentist
Matthew Oxford
operates on Fabi at
Paignton Zoo PICTURES: PAIGNTON ZOO/SWNS

A SUMATRAN tiger has had a complete root canal treatment- performed by a brave veterinary dentist under armed guard.

Fabi needed surgery after he fractured his lower canine teeth, measuring more than 3in from crown to root, and developed abscesses.

Vets and keepers at Paignton Zoo in Devon created an operating theatre in the largest tiger den, using hay bales and tarpaulin as a table, the day before the 11-year-old (pictured) had the procedure.

Veterinary dentist Matthew Oxford brought a specialist surgical kit and hand-held radiographic apparatus for the two-and-a-half hour procedure. He was helped by three vets, three nurses, two big cat keepers and senior animal staff — including one armed with a shotgun as part of safety rules.

Fabi, who weighs more than 220lb, was kept warm with an electric blanket and a duvet, with his paws wrapped in bubble wrap to ensure they did not get cold. He was sitting up within 15 minutes afterwards.

Mammal curator Nic Dunn said: ‘Fabi is getting on now and it is not uncommon to see signs of wear and tear in an older cat. For tigers, the teeth and claws are very important and so we need to make sure they are well looked after.’