A Very Special Trip to the Dentist

Even though the zoo has closed for the season, the animal care staff are still very busy caring for all of the zoo residents. In the veterinary department, the last few weeks have been a flurry of activity with a number of routine examinations and procedures to get done.

 

One very unique case was “Bakari,” one of our female lions. At her last routine physical exam, we identified two broken teeth. Fractured teeth can be uncomfortable and can predispose any animal (from house cats to lions) to infection and other complications. In order to fully evaluate the teeth and treat them appropriately, we called on the expertise of a colleague. Dr. Lynn Happel, Veterinarian and Owner of Eastown Veterinary Clinic has extensive experience and expertise in veterinary dentistry and is currently working toward board certification as a veterinary dentist. We were very excited to collaborate with her on Bakari’s case, and Dr. Happel was extremely generous, donating her time, expertise and even equipment, to make sure Bakari received the best dental care possible.

 

Bakari was anesthetized and brought to the animal hospital where there was a whole team waiting for her. Drs. Tara Harrison and Kim Thompson from Potter Park Zoo assisted by serving as Bakari’s anesthesiologists. Dr. Happel and her assistant got right to work examining Bakari’s entire mouth, taking measurements and radiographs (x-rays), and eventually extracting the two damaged teeth. While all of this was going on, Heather and I conducted Bakari’s routine physical examination, blood sampling, abdominal ultrasound and radiographs to make sure that Bakari was in excellent health.

 

We are glad to report that everything went very well on that very busy morning and Bakari has recovered wonderfully. We are very thankful for the opportunity to collaborate with colleagues like Dr. Happel and the team at Potter Park to provide the very best in medical (and dental) care for our patients here at the zoo!

 

John Ball Zoo Partners with Colleagues to Treat Fractured Teeth in an African Lion

 

The John Ball Zoo may be closed to the public for the season, but the Animal Care Staff and Veterinary Team are still very busy caring for all of the zoo residents. One such resident, recently needed some very special care and Zoo Veterinarian, Dr. Ryan Colburn, assembled a team to provide the best possible care for her.

“Bakari,” a seven-year old female African Lion was anesthetized for her annual examination when Dr. Colburn identified two severely fractured teeth. Fractured, or broken, teeth can be uncomfortable and can predispose any animal, from house cats to lions, to infections and other complications, so it was very important to treat these broken teeth. In order to fully evaluate and manage the broken teeth, Dr. Colburn called on the expertise of a colleague. Dr. Lynn Happel, Veterinarian and Owner of Eastown Veterinary Clinic, has extensive experience and expertise in veterinary dentistry and is currently working towards board certification as a veterinary dentist. Dr. Happel generously donated her time, expertise and even equipment to make sure that Bakari received the best dental care possible.

 

Bakari was anesthetized and brought to the zoo’s animal hospital where there was a whole team waiting for her. Drs. Tara Harrison and Kim Thompson from Potter Park Zoo assisted by serving as Bakari’s anesthesiologists for the procedure. Dr. Happel and her assistant got right to work examining Bakari’s entire mouth, taking measurements and radiographs (x-rays), and eventually extracting the two damaged teeth. While all of this was going on, Dr. Colburn and Heather Teater (Veterinary Technician) conducted a full physical exam along with blood sampling, radiographs and even abdominal ultrasound to ensure that Bakari was in excellent health.

 

After a very busy morning, Bakari was returned to her den in the Lions of Manyara building to recover from anesthesia. The procedure went smoothly and Bakari has done very well recovering from her trip to the dentist. 

 

About Ryan Colburn

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Dr. Colburn, John Ball Zoo veterinarian, has a long history with the Zoo.  He even attended the John Ball ZOO SCHOOL, the Grand Rapids Public School sixth grade class on the Zoo's campus.

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