A TEAM of seven specialist vets and carnivore experts recently helped one of Knowsley Safari’s African Lions, Ted, undergo root canal and tooth filling treatment.

The dental procedure was performed after a routine health check, when animal keepers noticed the sixteen-year-old had a chipped upper-left canine.

Left untreated, there is a risk the damage would expose the inner pulp of the tooth, leading to infection and a possibility of Ted not being able to eat his food.

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A team of veterinary experts, including an anaesthetist, a dental specialist, and a specialist veterinary dental nurse, administered the one hour and forty-five-minute treatment, with four animal keepers also assisting to help lift Ted onto a treatment table inside the Safari’s main lion den.

Once Ted was sedated, the affected tooth was drilled out, before being filled with a specialist dental cement. Lions’ canine teeth can reach a huge seven centimetres in length and are used to hold onto prey and tear away at meat.

Knowsley Safari’s carnivore team monitor the lions every day and can check their teeth each time they yawn.

Treatment will take place if there’s visible damage, or if the lion is in discomfort or struggling to eat.

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Lucie Petrie, Carnivore Animal Manager, Knowsley Safari said: “Tooth damage can be part of the ageing process in lions, just as it is in humans and the treatment is similar, albeit on a much larger scale.

“The expert team ensured Ted recovered well after his procedure and he soon re-joined the pride outside in the reserve.

“The other lions were interested to investigate where he’d been and were all respectful and gentle with him.”

Ted is part of the family at Knowsley, he was born at the Safari in 2007 and is in a pride of six African Lions currently resident on the Safari’s five-mile-long Drive, along with many other species including Iberian Wolves, Bactrian Camels, White Rhino, Yaks and European Bison.

To book tickets visit knowsleysafariexperience.co.uk.