Mokomoto, the 20 month old Cheetah is taking a trip to the dentist of a different kind, to have a developmental dental problem with his bite corrected.
Keepers had noticed that Mokomoto was showing signs of abnormal development with his lower cheek teeth, which are used for shredding their food.
“The teeth were growing out of the normal alignment to the upper jaw and the concern was that they would start to cause problems for Mokomoto’s hard palate,” said Veterinary Officer, Dr Alisa Wallace.
To assist the Cheetah with its dental problems the Zoo has enlisted the help of Dr David Clarke, a Veterinary Specialist Dentist to perform the procedure.
“Dr Clarke is one of only a handful of Veterinary Specialist Dentists in Australia and is able to treat numerous dental problems that would otherwise could cause long-term health issues for animals,” said Alisa.
“Dr Clarke will assess the animal’s teeth and devise a plan to correct his bite so that it won’t damage its hard palate and will keep it healthy in the future.”
“If this problem was to be left untreated, Mokomoto’s teeth would continue to grow incorrectly and that could possible lead to infection in the future,” said Alisa.
Dr David Clarke has visited Taronga Western Plains Zoo on three times previously to treat the wildlife in the Zoo’s care.
Mokomoto is one of the nine Cheetah at Taronga Western Plains Zoo and was born in October 2009 in a litter of four which included two rare King Cheetah.