San Antonio Zoo vets perform root canal on cheetah

8-year-old female cheetah suffered broken tooth

How do you give a cheetah a root canal? Very carefully -- and while the patient is taking an anesthesia-induced catnap.

A veterinary team at the San Antonio Zoo performed a root canal procedure Monday morning on Mandy, the zoo's 8-year-old resident cheetah.

Stretched out on the gurney and mouth wide open, Mandy slept right through the whole operation as the vets repaired her broken tooth.

"Just like you or I, it happens. People break teeth. So do animals," said Dr. Rob Coke, chief veterinarian. 

Mandy broke her tooth a couple months ago, but the operation could not be done because zoo officials thought the big cat might be pregnant. 

Once they were sure she was not, the root canal was on.

"We go in there and we fill it with a material that seals the tooth off," Coke said. "In this case, we're actually going to put a crown on it. She's going to have a stainless steel little bling."

Mandy will be fitted with her new crown in about a month, which could just make the zoo lions jealous.

For a list of recent stories Marilyn Moritz has done, click here.

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