It took dentists four hours to fix the toothache of Mr. Walker the polar bear at the Highland Wildlife Park in Kingussie, Scotland. Walker the polar bear had to undergo a dental treatment for a troublesome tooth.
The 241 kg (531 lbs) polar bear was treated after staff at the wildlife park noticed that his jaw was swollen and had to undergo a dental treatment for a troublesome tooth. The 2 year old polar bear was at first given a course of antibiotics but the swelling did not heal and a team of vets was called in to help. Four vets worked together to tranquilise Walker before removing the affected tooth. After the procedure, they left the enclosure to allow the polar bear to come around from the anaesthetic.
Spokesperson for the zoo, said that it was necessary to remove the affected tooth after Walker did not respond to antibiotics. Vets did an X-ray to see if root canal treatment would work, but the results showed that removing the tooth would be the only option.
The operation is usually a standard procedure but operating on a polar bear is not a typical day for vets and the size of the polar bear meant that he could not be transferred anywhere for treatment. Walker's huge size meant that 10 people were needed to lift him on to the operating table which was made from bales of hay for the polar bear to lie on during the procedure. The extraction took about four hours and the keepers made a swift exit before the bear awoke.
Keepers at the wildlife park say that Walker has recovered well and is now up and about and eating normally. Vets reckon the infection could have started by Walker breaking the tip off a tooth, but they don't know how or when.
Walker celebrated his 2nd birthday on the 7th of December last year with a special birthday cake, full of his favourite food, which are not thought to be the cause of his ill tooth. He arrived at the Highland Wildlife Park at the start of the November 2010 and has now settled in and shares an enclosure with 28-year-old female polar bear Mercedes. The pair's relationship got off to a tense start but Mercedes now appears to have accepted the new arrival in spite of his dental problems.