Pain-free dentistry is all the rage. But, the tooth – er, truth – is that if you’re a jaguar or a cougar, it sure better be pain free!
Imagine the brave dentist willing to pull the tooth of a 16 year old, 200 pound jaguar with a bad toothache? Or how about the nerve it takes to perform a root canal on an 11 year old, 100 pound cougar not too keen on opening his mouth and saying “ahhhhhh” for you? Definitely, not your typical day at the dentist’s office!
Luckily for The Wildcat Sanctuary, a team of veterinary dentists is donating its services for a “Dental Day” on Labor Day weekend thanks to The Peter Emily International Veterinary Dental Foundation. In order to continue his life’s work, Dr. Peter Emily donated the initial funds and then created a public 501(c)(3) nonprofit promoting oral and dental health in domestic and captive exotic animals.
By noon today, September 4th, the PEIVDF had accomplished 1 Dontoplasty, 2 Root Canals, several extractions and X-rays on the jaguar, two cougars, Eurasian lynx and Bengal domestic cat. Five veterinary dentists and two assistants had two tables running simultaneously onsite at The Wildcat Sanctuary in Sandstone, MN performing the surgeries. Sadly, it isn’t unusual for large cats rescued by the Sanctuary to have dental disease. Before being taken in, they’ve often been fed the wrong diet, leading to a life of pain.
The Dental Day team heroes include Dr. Kevin Stepaniuk, a teacher of veterinary dentistry at the University of Minnesota Veterinary School. Dr. Hanny Retzkin will also be traveling all the way from Israel to join this mission. Dr. Barron Hall, Dr. Kris Bannon, Dr. John Scheels, Melissa Gray, and Pat Klessig will join The Wildcat Sanctuary’s Dr. Noemi Plantz of Cedar Pet Clinic Lake Elmo and TWS’ Director to make sure jaguar Diablo Guapo, meaning “handsome devil,” will have the teeth to match his name!
Thank you to Sara Croft and Michelle Malsack of Cedar Pet Clinic for assisting as well as TWS staff Trista Campbell, Alicia Ice, Christine Dietsche and volunteer Barb Rein.
The Wildcat Sanctuary (TWS) is a non-profit, no-kill rescue facility, located in Sandstone, Minnesota. TWS provides for the humane rescue and sheltering of unwanted, mistreated, and neglected privately owned wildcats that pose a risk to public safety. We do not buy, breed, trade or sell animals. TWS is committed to public education about the captive wildlife crisis; offering veterinarian training opportunities; and supporting legislative solutions to the public safety issues created by private ownership of wild animals.