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Tenderly treating a lion’s cracked tooth

A lion named Trouble lived up to his name when he cracked a tooth.

The African lion, who lives in a wildlife park in Australia, was treated by a vet who normally treats much smaller cats. The veterinarian-turned-emergency-dentist removed half the cracked tooth, administering enough anaesthesia to ensure the lion did not wake up halfway through the operation. The rest of the tooth, he added, would have to be removed within the next few months. Otherwise, the tooth may become infected and develop an abscess.

This photo is moving because it shows the vet gently cradling the lion’s jaw in his hands as he attempts to get a better look at the affected tooth. Because of the angle of the shot, one can see the lion’s mane and most of his face.

Fun fact: most root canals in zoos are performed on large cats such as lions, who frequently get broken and cracked teeth.

Source: Tony Stickley. “Toothache spells trouble for African lion at wildlife park near Cairns.” The Cairns Post. October 25, 2012.