Cincinnati, OH (August 26, 2015)—Ali, Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden’s 11-yr-old female aardvark, got a visit from equine dental veterinarians Dr. Jeff Reiswig, from Newark, OH, and Dr. Jack Easley, whose practice is in Shelbyville, KY, last week. The dentists came to the Zoo to perform a complicated extraction, removing two problematic, aardvark-sized teeth through a 2cm incision.
Detailed scans taken at Children’s Hospital Medical Center (CCHMC) radiology facility last month revealed that Ali the aardvark, who had been exhibiting symptoms that indicated an eye issue, actually needed dental attention.
While having a concrete diagnosis was a positive development, treating a dental problem presented another challenge. “Aardvarks can’t open their mouths wide enough for a tooth to be extracted in the conventional way. The only way to get the infected tooth out is to go in through the side of the jaw,” said Cincinnati Zoo Veterinary Director Mark Campbell, DVM.
Ali, who is 11 years old, is doing well post surgery. “It will be several weeks until she is healed and we know for sure how successful the procedure
was, but the teeth that were the source of the problem have been removed, so she should do fine,” said Cincinnati Zoo Associate Veterinarian Jenny Nollman, DVM.
Look for #AliTheAardvark updates on Facebook and Twitter.
YouTube video: https://youtu.be/PEc1NfTJz7U
Aardvarks are snouted mammals native to central and southern Africa. Specialized to eat ants and termites, they sweep their snouts from side to side to sniff out insects and lick them up with their long, sticky tongues. Aardvarks can live up to 23 years in zoos and typically weigh between 88 and 145 pounds. With long ears they are able to listen for signs of predators, like lions and leopards, while foraging for their own food.
Cincinnati Zoo’s aardvarks can be found in the Night Hunters exhibit.