A Bear with a Sore Head
On the 20th December 2012, with Christmas fast approaching, Hayley Walters, who works for the The Jeanne Marchig International Centre for Animal Welfare Education, part of the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies, visited a very special patient at Camperdown Wildlife Centre in Dundee.
Star, a European Brown Bear, required root canal work to be done to one of her canine teeth. Veterinary dentist specialist Norman Johnson from Dental Vets was called in to perform the dental work and it was The Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies' anaesthesia department who were asked to keep the bear unconscious for the procedure.
New anaesthesia resident, Karla Borland and our own nurse Hayley, rose to the challenge and Star remained completely unaware of everything happening to her during the 90 minute procedure. Since Hayley worked with Moon Bears in China for over 3 years, she was asked to assist and was more than happy to be involved in the case. She used the opportunity to brush up on her field anaesthesia skills, which she uses when teaching animal welfare to vet students overseas.
In 2013 JMICAWE are planning several neutering workshops in Asia and we can never expect to have full veterinary hospital facilities. Field anaesthesia is always a little more stressful and challenging and it is important that we are comfortable and as prepared as possible in these situations before we actually try to go and teach in them.
The success of the root canal was a collaborative effort between Norman Johnson from Dental Vets, the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies, Edinburgh Zoo's veterinary department, Camperdown’s own local vets, The Lawrie Veterinary Group and The Falkirk and Parkside Veterinary Group.
It was a really good team effort and everybody played their role extremely well. I don’t think we stepped on each other’s toes and I hope there will be more collaborative work done in the future. Star is a beautiful bear and we know they experience dental pain just as we do so I am very pleased she has received root canal work today.
Star recovered quickly after her anaesthetic and her mate Comet, who was concerned but lightly sedated in the neighbouring den as the procedure went on, were reunited later that day. Camperdown Wildlife Centre reported today that she is doing very well and eating all her favourite foods quite merrily.