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    The animal dentist that travels the world

    NewsPets in generalWednesday 26 June 2013
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    Being a dentist is hard enough; the long hours, the painful and detailed work and of course the grumpy patients that you have to deal with daily. One dentist is pushing his limits to the extreme though as he travels around the world to fix some of the most dangerous animal’s teeth in the world.

    Dr Gerhard Steenkamp is one of the world’s most known veterinary dentist and working in South Africa he comes across a whole range of animals including tigers, lions, elephants and more. He also travels abroad as a specialist and has been to China, Egypt and UAE. In total he performs an incredible 500 surgeries a year on a range of patients who all require work doing on their teeth.

    When speaking about his job, Steenkamp who is from Pretoria said that 'I've been really blessed in my career so far to work on a variety of animals. 'I've operated on everything from a small bat right up to a six tonne elephant.

    'There's been plenty of carnivores too - lions, tigers, leopards, cheetahs. 'But the most hair raising experiences have been with the hippos and elephants. 'I've had elephants wake up on me in the middle of a surgery, and that can be because they are upset.

    'The majority of the big animals like buffalo, hippo, rhino, elephants, they're just so big and enormous it can be tricky. 'Their size makes it difficult to work with them, you cannot just quickly move then around or turn them on their other side, it has to be meticulously planned beforehand.'

    Such tasks Dr Steenkamp performs are pretty much the same thing humans require in their dental needs. This includes root canals, extracting teeth and scaling and polishing teeth. Common problems from animals include fractures, infections and abscesses.

    Dr Steenkamp says that the majority of animals he deals with our fine thanks to their nature however he has had a few problems with the giant hippopotamus at Pretoria Zoo that woke up half way through an operation! He commented that 'Anaesthesia in these animals is quite difficult. This particular animal halfway through the procedure decided to wake up and get to his feet unexpectedly.

    'In a confined space with a 1.8 tonne animal, it can be rather hair raising.'

     
     

     

    Source: Daily Mail

    Photo: Le Scribbler

     
     
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