A rare white lion has received a six-hour dental surgery to remove the broken roots of his two rotting canine teeth, which had been causing him so much pain that it was impossible for him to eat.
Aslan, who lives at the Kevin Richardson Wildlife Sanctuary on the outskirts of Pretoria, South Africa, had been in pain since his canine teeth broke about a year ago.
The pain had led to the nine-year-old male lion becoming increasingly isolated, aggressive and agitated by his inability to bite down.
This video, produced by denture company Fixodent, has captured the surgery and features Kevin Richardson, a lion whisperer and animal behaviorist.
A lion without its bite is not really a lion, it’s really important for a lion to have a full set of teeth that are usable.
Filmed as he is interacting with the pride, Richardson speaks of his special connection with Aslan, who was bitten by his father after being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
1. The white lion is placed under anaesthetic and stretchered to the makeshift, onsite surgery by a number of people.
2. Lion whisperer Kevin Richardson stays by the lion for the duration of the surgery while it gets fragments of its rotten canine removed.
I couldn’t imagine anything better than having a white lion and it was quite an incredible thing to see this really pure white ball of fluff amongst all these brown lions.
In preparation for the surgery, which Richardson expected to last up to four hours, Aslan is placed under anaesthetic and stroked in reassurance.
The clip then fast-forwards to the day of the surgery itself, as three cars transport the big cat to the makeshift surgery.
3. Dr. Adrian Tordiffe operates on the lion for six hours and removes the entire root of the rotten canine.
4. Kevin Richardson states that the lion is a “real tough character” after going under the knife for six hours.
Aslan is then placed on the table and the anaesthetist, Dr. Adrian Tordiffe, lists the order in which he will work on the big cat’s teeth; the gaping hole left by the broken canine tooth is clearly visible.
Richardson remains by the Aslan’s side throughout the operation, as the rotten bits of his canine tooth are pulled from the lion’s mouth.
After the last fragment of tooth is removed, the surgeon sews up the hole and says that the lion will soon be pain-free and, as a result, a much happier cat.
5. Dr. Adrian Tordiffe removes all the rotten fragments of tooth from where the lion’s canine used to be.
6. The operation took a lot longer than Richardson had anticipated and a total of four teeth were worked on.
Richardson says that the six-hour surgery was a lot longer than he had expected and that a total of four teeth, instead of the two they had planned for, were operated on. He says:
He’s a real tough character to endure that. Now with hopefully no pain in the mouth and the ability to bite nicely he’s not going to feel so insecure.
Aslan is then seen being reintroduced to the pride, despite Richardson’s fears that the process may not go entirely smoothly.
7. The fragments of the broken and rotten canine teeth were removed and the doctor later sewed up the holes.
8. After the operation Aslan returned to his big cat ways and was once again able to eat comfortably with the rest of the pride.
I think the other lions were happy to see him back.
Within a short period of time they’re all lying together and licking each other and sleeping amongst each other.
We are going to have a happy pride. The king’s back.
Since the surgery, Aslan has returned to his big cat ways and is able again to eat comfortably with the rest of the pride.
9. Richardson strokes Aslan’s chin and notes that he has not been able to do that for a long time on account of the pain the lion was in.
10. Richardson notes that the other lions are pleased to see Aslan and that they are once again a happy pride.
Source: Saving Aslan.
Share this story with your friends and your thoughts in the comments below. Please retweet it to your Twitter followers — they would want to see that, too.