Ticuna, a giant river otter, gets double root canal at Zoo Miami

4-year-old otter doing well after getting his teeth worked on

By Paradise Afshar - Digital Editor

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. - Ticuna, the giant river otter, was doing "swimmingly well" Wednesday afternoon after getting a double root canal on Tuesday at Zoo Miami’s Christopher Weeks Animal Hospital.

The 4 1/2 year old otter weighs 50 pounds and is endangered. She is believed to be the first giant river otter to ever get a double root canal, according to Ron Magill, the zoo's good will ambassador and communications director, 

Ticuna had broken both of her upper canines, exposing the pulp and creating what must have been severe pain, Magill said.

Otters will sometimes break their teeth in the wild while chewing on mollusks, bony fish and other hard substances.

In the wild, these injuries can prevent an otter from eating, and can lead to the animal’s death.

Dr. Jan Bellows, of All Pets Dental, along with Dr. Elizabeth McMorran and veterinary dental assistant Joana Macias were assisted by Zoo Miami’s veterinary team, led by Dr. Gaby Flacke, in performing the root canal on Ticuna.

Bellows and McMorran each worked on a separate canine simultaneously to reduce the amount of time Ticuna would have to be under anesthesia.

"Both root canals were performed successfully without incident and Ticuna now appears to be fully recovered back at her habitat in Zoo Miami’s Amazon and Beyond exhibit," Magill said in a media release.

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