Veterinarians Perform Tooth Extraction on 408-Pound Lion

The 13-year-old lion was suffering from a dental infection and two cracked teeth.

Mandela the lion’s trip to the dentist.

Perth Zoo/Facebook

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During a veterinary exam at Perth Zoo in Australia, 13-year-old Mandela, a 408-pound lion, was found to have a dental infection and a couple of cracked teeth, UPI reports. Veterinary specialists were called in for the extraction.

Simone Vitali BSc, BVMS, PhD, MACVS (Zoo Animal Medicine) and Senior Veterinarian at Perth Zoo told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, “Often predators in captivity give you very little in the way of clinical signs, so we didn't even know that Mandela had a dental infection until we anaesthetized him and had a look. It's quite amazing the sort of things they will tolerate. A tooth infection for us would lay us out for days but with them they just keep trucking on. So it's important for us as custodians to do what we can to make them comfortable, even if they're not giving us an indication that they're not comfortable.”

Mandela remained sedated for two hours while the extraction was performed. “They're big teeth and they take a lot of work to get out so for today we've just removed the one that was infected,” Dr. Vitali told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

While Mandela is now recovering in his enclosure at the zoo, he will need to have at least one more tooth extracted soon, Australian Broadcasting Corporation reports.

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