It wasn’t the eye of the tiger but a tooth vets were after when they operated on Taronga Zoo’s tigress Jumilah on Friday.
It wasn’t the eye of the tiger but a tooth vets were after when they operated on Taronga Zoo’s tigress Jumilah on Friday.

Tigress Jumilah’s tooth extraction a roaring success

It wasn't the eye of the tiger but a tooth vets were after when they operated on Taronga Zoo's tigress Jumilah on Friday.

The 17-year-old Sumatran tiger underwent a three-hour regular check-up at the zoo's veterinary clinic, including X-rays and blood work, but needed special surgery after keepers discovered she had a broken tooth.

Taronga Zoo senior vet Larry Vogelnest performs a medical check up and tooth extraction on Jumilah the female Sumatran tiger at Taronga Zoo Wildlife Hospital. Larry checks Jumilah's ears as part of the check up. Picture: Toby Zerna
Taronga Zoo senior vet Larry Vogelnest performs a medical check up and tooth extraction on Jumilah the female Sumatran tiger at Taronga Zoo Wildlife Hospital. Larry checks Jumilah's ears as part of the check up. Picture: Toby Zerna

Taronga senior veterinarian Larry Vogelnest took up the reins as dentist for a 40-minute surgery to pull out the sedated tiger's tooth.

He said the elderly tiger "did well" despite a "lengthy" stint in the dentist's chair.

"In the past few weeks keepers noticed she was having difficulty eating and suspected there was a problem, which turned out to be a broken molar," Dr Vogelnest said.

"It was quite a large tooth at the back and fractured badly, we have no idea how she did it … the procedure was lengthy but went smoothly."

Taronga Zoo senior vet Larry Vogelnest checks Jumilah’s eyes. Picture: Toby Zerna
Taronga Zoo senior vet Larry Vogelnest checks Jumilah’s eyes. Picture: Toby Zerna

Jumilah was sent on her way with some dissolving stitches and painkillers to rejoin Taronga's family of tigers this morning.

Carnivore keeper Rebecca Baldwin said the tiger matriarch had passed her health checks with flying colours apart from the gap where her tooth once was.

"Dental health is really important for all our animals, she's in really good condition for her age, as tigers only live to about 12 in the wild," Ms Baldwin said.

"We'll keep her on soft foods for the next few days as her stitches heal, and she'll get plenty extra from us, which she'll love."

Originally published as Tigress Jumilah's tooth extraction a roaring success

Vet nurse Liz Arthur checks the back paws. Picture: Toby Zerna
Vet nurse Liz Arthur checks the back paws. Picture: Toby Zerna
An x-ray of the tooth needing extraction (centre). Picture: Toby Zerna
An x-ray of the tooth needing extraction (centre). Picture: Toby Zerna
Vet nurse Liz Arthur (left) and graduate vet resident Jess Whinfield prepare Jumilah for an x-ray. Picture: Toby Zerna
Vet nurse Liz Arthur (left) and graduate vet resident Jess Whinfield prepare Jumilah for an x-ray. Picture: Toby Zerna


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