One of nature’s biggest cats was reduced to a mitten-wearing kitten as a brave team on Merseyside performed dental work on an Amur tiger.
Kuzma, a 10-year-old male, needed treatment on his teeth after a routine examination, and was put under anaesthetic as 13 professionals set to work to give him a root canal at Knowsley Safari.
The anaesthesia meant that Kuzma could not regulate his body temperature during the surgery, so bubble wrap mittens were created and duvets wrapped around him to keep him warm.
The procedure took four-and-a-half hours to complete, and will prevent Kuzma from getting infection or pain in the future as a result of exposed tooth rot.
“Tigers’ teeth are a bit like icebergs,” said Jen Quayle, the vet at Knowsley Safari. “The tooth that you see above the gum is just part of the story.
“The canine tooth’s root runs much deeper into the gum and in a tiger as much as two-thirds of the tooth is hidden inside the jawbone.
“The procedure meant we didn’t have to resort to more intrusive surgery, while relieving Kuzma of any pain and making it much more comfortable for him during mealtimes.
“Kuzma has responded really well and quickly tucked into his tea not long after the procedure.”
It is hoped that Kuzma will breed as part of conservation efforts, with roughly 500 Amur tigers left in the wild.