Miami Zoo’s resident dentist gives animals check ups for dental week



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Dental health is as important for animals as it is for humans.

This week, the furry and fanged residents of Miami-Dade Zoological Park and Gardens, also known as Zoo Miami, went to the dentist. 

A variety of procedures were performed during Dental Week, from cleanings to root canals, and patients included a lion, gorilla, chimpanzee, tapir, aardvark and otters. 

The most common issue was removing accumulated tarter, as well as cracked or broken teeth that had to be repaired or extracted.

All the animals were fully sedated, both for their comfort and the dentist’s safety.

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a person sitting on the floor: Barney, a 27-year-old-gorilla, getting a tooth extracted during 'Dental Week' at Zoo Miami


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Barney, a 27-year-old-gorilla, getting a tooth extracted during ‘Dental Week’ at Zoo Miami

‘We have never had an animal wake up during a procedure,’ said zoo ambassador Ron Magill. ‘They are carefully monitored by an anesthesia team and if they show any sign of awakening, they are administered additional anesthesia to keep them fully sedated.’

Because animals generally don’t complain about dental pain, veterinarians often refer to it as ‘silent suffering.’

By the time anything is discovered, the disease or infection may be so far along that it’s debilitating – or even fatal.

General dental exams are performed on animals during regular health examinations.



a group of stuffed animals sitting next to a woman: Kashifa, a 10-year-old lioness, was well sedated before her tooth was extracted. 'We have never had an animal wake up during a procedure,' said zoo ambassador Ron Magill


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Kashifa, a 10-year-old lioness, was well sedated before her tooth was extracted. ‘We have never had an animal wake up during a procedure,’ said zoo ambassador Ron Magill



a dog wearing a hat: Sedation lasts about three to eight hours, with the dosage depending on the size and age of the animal


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Sedation lasts about three to eight hours, with the dosage depending on the size and age of the animal

If an issue is diagnosed, the zoo’s veterinarians will either resolve it themselves or, depending on its severity, enlist a veterinary dental specialist.

‘Dental health is a key component of the Animal Health Department’s preventative medicine program at Zoo Miami,’ said Magill, who snapped photos of the unusual proceedings. ‘A variety of issues ranging from gum disease to broken teeth can lead to critical care issues that may result in serious infection and even death without treatment.’



a person petting a dog: Veterinary dentist Jamie Berning and her veterinary technician, Jill Bates, traveled to Miami from Columbus, Ohio, to perform procedures on a variety of animals


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Veterinary dentist Jamie Berning and her veterinary technician, Jill Bates, traveled to Miami from Columbus, Ohio, to perform procedures on a variety of animals



a person wearing a costume: The most common issue was removing accumulated tarter, as well as cracked or broken teeth that had to be repaired or extracted


© Provided by Daily Mail
The most common issue was removing accumulated tarter, as well as cracked or broken teeth that had to be repaired or extracted

This week, veterinary dentist Jamie Berning and her veterinary technician, Jill Bates, traveled to Miami from Columbus, Ohio, to perform procedures on a variety of animals.

Barney, the zoo’s 27-year-old gorilla, Hondo, a 26-year-old chimpanzee, and Kashifa, a 10-year-old lioness all had to have teeth extracted.

The procedures, which took between two and seven hours, were spread out over three days.

Sedation lasts about three to eight hours, with the dosage depending on the size and age of the animal.

Dr. Berning was able to treat two to three animals a day.



a person holding an object in his mouth: Hondo, a 26-year-old chimpanzee, also had to have a tooth extracted


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Zoo Miami animals see the dentist: Pictures

Getting teeth pulled is never fun.

But it takes more than a needle and numbness to work on a lion. Or a gorilla. Even an otter. We’re talking sleepy time here for the safety of everyone.

This week, several animals at Zoo Miami had dental exams as part of their overall health screenings. Animals including a 27-year-old gorilla, a 26-year-old chimpanzee named Hondo and a 10-year-old lion named Kashifa had to have teeth extracted.

“Dental health is a key component of the Animal Health Department’s preventative medicine program at Zoo Miami,” said Ron Magill in a statement. “A variety of issues ranging from gum disease to broken teeth can lead to critical care issues that may result in serious infection and even death without treatment.”

Magill said that since animals “don’t complain” about dental issues, dental disease is generally referred to as “silent suffering.”

Over the past week, veterinary dentist Dr. Jamie Berning from Midwest Mobile Veterinary Dentistry, along with her veterinary technician, Jill A. Bates, came from Ohio to work on the Zoo Miami animals, which also included a tapir and an aardvark.

And, yes, they were all put under before the work commenced.

Now that their teeth are all nice and tingly clean, they have returned to their regular zoo habitats.

Carli Teproff grew up in Northeast Miami-Dade and graduated from Florida International University in 2003. She became a full-time reporter for the Miami Herald in 2005 and now covers breaking news.

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Cats, dogs, dolphins and more animals get Covid-19 tests

As Covid-19 cases surge in the US, one Texas veterinarian has been quietly tracking the spread of the disease — not in people, but in their pets.



a dog sitting on a table: Texas A&M University student Ed Davila holds Stella, one of hundreds of household pets tested during A&M's study of pets exposed to Covid-19 by their infected owners. The 2½-year-old Pomeranian tested negative.


© Sarah Hamer/Kaiser Health News
Texas A&M University student Ed Davila holds Stella, one of hundreds of household pets tested during A&M’s study of pets exposed to Covid-19 by their infected owners. The 2½-year-old Pomeranian tested negative.

Since June, Sarah Hamer and her team at Texas A&M University have tested hundreds of animals from area households where humans contracted Covid-19. They’ve swabbed dogs and cats, sure, but also pet hamsters and guinea pigs, looking for signs of infection. “We’re open to all of it,” said Hamer, a professor of epidemiology, who has found at least 19 cases of infection.

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One pet that tested positive was Phoenix, a 7-year-old part-Siamese cat owned by Kaitlyn Romoser, who works in a university lab. Romoser, 23, was confirmed to have Covid-19 twice, once in March and again in September. The second time she was much sicker, she said, and Phoenix was her constant companion.

“If I would have known animals were just getting it everywhere, I would have tried to distance myself, but he will not distance himself from me,” Romoser said. “He sleeps in my bed with me. There was absolutely no social distancing.”

Across the country, veterinarians and other researchers are scouring the animal kingdom for signs of the virus that causes Covid-19. At least 2,000 animals in the US have been tested for the coronavirus since the pandemic began, according to federal records. Cats and dogs that were exposed to sick owners represent most of the animals tested and 80% of the positive cases found.



a woman holding a cat: Kaitlyn Romoser and her 7-year-old cat, Phoenix, both tested positive for the coronavirus. Romoser tested positive in March and again in September.


© (Emil Koseoglu/Kaiser Health News
Kaitlyn Romoser and her 7-year-old cat, Phoenix, both tested positive for the coronavirus. Romoser tested positive in March and again in September.

But scientists have cast a wide net investigating other animals that could be at risk. In states from California to Florida, researchers have tested species ranging from farmed minks and zoo cats to unexpected critters like dolphins, armadillos and anteaters.

Fur farm outbreaks

The US Department of Agriculture keeps an official tally of confirmed animal Covid-19 cases that stands at several dozen. But that list is a vast undercount of actual infections. In Utah and Wisconsin, for instance, more than 14,000 minks died in recent weeks after contracting Covid-19 infections initially spread by humans.

So far, there’s limited evidence that animals are transmitting the virus to people. Veterinarians emphasize that pet owners appear to be in no danger from their furry companions and should continue to love and care for them. But scientists say continued testing is one way to remain vigilant in the face of a previously unknown pathogen.

“We just know that coronaviruses, as a family, infect a lot of species, mostly mammals,” said Dr. Peter Rabinowitz, a professor of environmental and occupational health sciences and the director of the University of Washington Center for One Health Research

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Cow-hugging, an alleged wellness fad, has people cuddling farm animals to relieve stress

In the increasingly hectic and stressful year of 2020, people are seeking calm wherever they can find it — from frolicking through the fields to adopting plants. But now there’s another natural way to restore your cortisol levels: cow-hugging.

People in several parts of the world have begun to embrace the alleged wellness trend, which reportedly originated in the Netherlands, where it is known as “koe knuffelen.”

According to the BBC, the practice of cuddling cows is supposed to reduce stress in humans by releasing the bonding hormone oxytocin.

Cows are chosen specifically for their warm body temperatures and calm demeanor, the outlet reported.

VIDEOS AND PHOTOS OF ‘CUTE’ ANIMALS CAN REDUCE STRESS, STUDY CLAIMS

“Cows are very relaxed animals, they don’t fight, they don’t get in trouble,” a farm owner who promotes the practice told BBC. “You come to the fields and we have some special hugging cows and you can lay next to [them] — people think it’s very relaxing.”

A 2007 study suggested that the practice, which is catching on in the U.S. and Switzerland, benefits the cows as well as the humans.

A 2007 study suggested that the practice, which is catching on in the U.S. and Switzerland, benefits the cows as well as the humans.
(iStock)

PET OWNER DRILLS HOLES IN FENCE SO 2 DOGS CAN SEE THROUGH

Farms in the United States and Switzerland have also adopted the wellness fad, which, according to a 2007 study in the Applied Animal Behavior Science journal, also benefits the cows.

The researchers found when the animals are rubbed, massaged or pet, they experience relaxation and pleasure as well.

“This suggests that cows may in part perceive human stroking of body regions often-licked similarly to social licking,” the researchers write in their study.

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Though, if you’re not near a farm, petting smaller domestic animals has also been shown to lower blood pressure in humans and provide relaxation effects.

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