Barranquilla zoo's 47 year-old elephant, Tantor, undergoes surgery to save a tusk.
BARRANQUILLA, COLOMBIA (JUNE 9, 2012) (RCN) - An international team of veterinarians successfully operated on a Colombian zoo's 47 year-old elephant to fix a giant toothache Saturday (June 9).
Barranquilla zoo's beloved elephant, Tantor, underwent oral surgery to save a tusk.
After being tranquilised the medical team began the task at hand in the hopes of saving the tooth so as not to have to extract it.
"We're going to try to save the tooth and do what's called a vital pulpotomy and direct pulp capping," explained U.S. veterinarian Barron Hall. "We're going to try to keep the tooth healthy but leave it in there so we won't have to extract the tooth which is a much bigger and more invasive procedure than trying to do endodontic work."
The team had met for over a month planning the specifics of the procedure.
"Almost three hours of operation on the elephant were complicated procedures," said Mexican veterinarian Carlos Sanchez. "The procedure was very stable and we had no complications."
Tantor has spent the last 20 years of his life at the Barranquilla zoo.