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Saturday, May 26, 2012

Think you've had a bad day at the dentist? Meet the tiger whose heart STOPPED while having a filling

By Ian Garland

Even the biggest creatures can be humbled by a toothache.

Vets had to perform CPR on a 160kg Siberian tiger after she suffered a cardiac arrest during a visit to the dentist.

Sayan was undergoing root canal surgery when she suffered a rare reaction two hours into the procedure.

Quick thinking medics at Yorkshire Wildlife Park gave the three-year-old heart massage and two shots of adrenaline and brought her back to life.

Toothache: Vets prepare Sayan for surgery. They decided to operate on her because she had been acting grumpily and showing signs of tooth pain

Complications: Two hours into the operation Sayan's heart rate dropped - due to a rare reaction

Sayan is now recovering from the traumatic dentist experience.

Vet Alan Tevendale, 31, said: 'We noticed a change two hours into the operation and found no pulse or heart beat.

'We then immediately started cardiac massage and gave a shot of intravenous adrenaline. When this didn't work we had to give another shot of adrenaline directly into the heart whilst we continued cardiac massage.'

Reaction: Vets quickly performed heart massage on her and administered two shots of adrenaline, which restarted her heart

Recovery: Sayan is now back on her feet after her traumatic brush with death - and zookeepers say she's already more cheerful

'When I checked again she had a pulse and heartbeat.

'Gradually, she returned to a steady rhythm. After five minutes we took her off ventilation and she managed to breathe herself.

'This is very rare and was extremely stressful – the most stressful experience of my life. We are all so relieved she is now ok.'

Sayan, who weighs around 160 kilos, had been acting grumpily and keepers at the wildlife park in Doncaster decided to get her teeth examined in case they were causing her discomfort.

A specialist dentist was called in last week to examine the tiger’s teeth
After a full check up he opted to perform a root canal filling to a lower canine.

But the operation which should have been straightforward took a dramatic twist.

'There is always a risk with anaesthetics but I have not seen this reaction in a tiger in 27 years and I have worked on hundreds of big cats.,' said dentist Peter Kertesz, who has a practice in Central London.

'The good thing is that we had the expertise to cope with the emergency and, although her heart stopped for seven to ten minutes, Sayan was in good hands and she has made a great recovery.'

Sayan came to Yorkshire Wildlife Park to live in Land of the Tigers last year as part of the Siberian Tiger Breeding Programme.

Fewer than 400 Siberian tigers are left in the wild because of habitat loss and poachers.

Breeding: Sayan came to Yorkshire Wildlife Park to live in Land of the Tigers last year as part of the Siberian Tiger Breeding Programme.

Big cat cupid: She has been paired up with three-year-old male Vladimir after they were introduced on Valentine's Day

She had been kept in a separate but adjacent enclosure to three year-old male Vladimir for eight months while they got acclimatised to each other before being introduced on Valentine’s Day.

Yorkshire Wildlife Park director Cheryl Williams said: 'We are extremely grateful for the expertise and speed of the whole medical team.

'They were brilliant in bringing Sayan back to life.'

'The welfare of our animals is our highest priority and I am delighted to report that Sayan is now back in the Land of The Tigers and seems much better tempered!'

Big cat: Siberian tigers are the world's largest cat. There are only an estimated 400 left in the wild



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