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Root Canal for Duluth Zoo Monkey

Updated: 02/04/2014 5:31 PM
Created: 02/04/2014 5:17 PM WDIO.com

Noqui may be an Allen swamp monkey, but he ended up with an old-fashioned human problem--needing a root canal. The problem first surfaced as a lesion on his face, but that was just the symptom. The problem was his tooth.

A big challenge was the length of the root in his tooth--extremely long by human standards. That set the Lake Superior Zoo in motion to look for not only the right specialists, but the right tools to do the job.

The Lake Superior Zoo veterinarian, Louise Beyea, brought together area veterinarian Michael Overend and endodontist (root canal expert) Kimberly Lindquist. Lindquist normally works on human patients, but said the procedure went well. However, there were some challenges. In addition to an extremely long dental root, Lindquist said, "He has a very shallow palate and a very thin, narrow jaw structure. So it was very difficult."

Beyea said the zoo is fortunate to have talented and helpful professionals in the area who are happy to lend a hand. "Luckily, over the past several years we have developed an excellent working relationship with other medical and veterinary professionals in town," Beyea said.

The zoo and its staff can handle most things that the animals send their way, but unlike the human world, dentistry for animals has not really developed its own specialty. But Overend says humans and animals can share several things, including pain. "You can't get relief from that pain, and it's chronic pain that ruins your life," he said.

When the root canal was over, Noqui came out of it great. He was soon back in the swing of things. No word yet on whether or not he plans to start flossing.

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