MIAMI – A 9 1/2-year-old lion received a root canal and a pedicure Wednesday at Zoo Miami.
Zoo Miami spokesman Ron Magill said in a news release that the 410-pound lion, Kwame, was immobilized and taken to the Zoo Hospital to receive a root canal on a lower left tooth.
A small mole was discovered during the procedure and was removed by zoo chief veterinarian Dr. Gwen Myers so that it can be examined for the presence of skin cancer.
Magill said the root canal was performed by Dr. Jan Bellows from All Pets Dental and Dr. Elizabeth McMorran, a fourth-year dental resident.
Myers, Dr. Marisa Bezjian and Dr. Gaby Flacka assisted in the procedure.
Bellows said the procedure went smoothly and the root canal should last for the rest of Kwame's life.
According to Magill, large carnivores, like lions, often damage their teeth in the wild during conflicts with others, and when they bite hard things, such as bones, during feedings.
Magill said animals will often experience pain and infections in their teeth, which can lead to death.
Kwame's repaired tooth was sealed against infection, Magill said.
Kwame also received a pedicure by the Zoo Miami veterinary team, who trimmed his nails to reduce the potential of them growing into the lion's paws.
The nails were trimmed with large clippers and then filed down with a Dremmel tool.
Kwame is expected to make a full recovery and be back on exhibit by Friday.