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Open wide: No more tooth pain for Shazam

SANDSTONE -- Shazam is new to having major dental work done.An exam a few years ago revealed Shazam, a black leopard born in 2002, was beginning to have some tooth issues.His appointment with a veterinary dentist Saturday at the Wildcat Sanctuary...

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Volunteers with the Peter Emily International Veterinary Dental Foundation perform a root canal Saturday on Shazam, a 14-year-old black leopard at The Wildcat Sanctuary in Sandstone. Samantha Erkkila / Forum News Service

SANDSTONE - Shazam is new to having major dental work done.
An exam a few years ago revealed Shazam, a black leopard born in 2002, was beginning to have some tooth issues.
His appointment with a veterinary dentist Saturday at the Wildcat Sanctuary in Sandstone involved a root canal and extraction of two upper left incisors.
“He had a broken upper right canine tooth with pulp exposure. It’s called a complicated crown fracture, so that tooth was dead. Rather than extracting it, it is much easier on them to maintain that tooth, and so we were able to do a root canal,” said Barron Hall, a veterinary dentist from Fairfax, Va.
Hall has been working on the teeth of large exotic animals for 15 years and was the one who performed Shazam’s root canal, reporting afterward, “Everything went very well. It went beautifully.”
Shazam, along with three cougars and a serval, received dental care at the sanctuary from the Peter Emily International Veterinary Dental Foundation, a group of veterinary dentists, technicians and other professionals from around the United States who pay their own way to get to the animals.
Tammy Thies, founder and executive director of the sanctuary, said the animals who received dental work Saturday will be able to go back to their normal diets and lives afterward.
“The sad part is most of the cats that we rescue already come with broken teeth. So every year we need the services of the dental foundation,” Theis said.
Shazam was brought to the sanctuary in 2006 after being rescued from a game farm in New York.
This is the fourth time the volunteers have visited the Wildcat Sanctuary, and Hall has been on each visit.
“We do it because we want to help these animals out,” said Hall, who was assisted by Charles Dyer IV, a dentist for humans in Houston.

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