Skip to comments.False teeth for elephant
Posted on 01/09/2004 12:24:53 PM PST by yankeedame
False teeth for Thai elephant
From correspondents in Bangkok
January 7, 2004
AN aging elephant in Thailand has gotten a new lease on life after a veterinarian fitted the animal with custom-made dentures, a newspaper reported Wednesday.
Morakot, an 80-year-old pachyderm in captivity at a park in the western province of Kanchanaburi, had been unable to chew her food because she had lost her teeth, the Bangkok Post quoted Dr. Somsak Jitniyom saying.
Kept alive with injected saline solution, vitamins and antibiotics, she had become so weak she had collapsed four times and needed to be supported by a sling of chains hung from a tree, he said.
Elephants have four sets of teeth in a lifetime, but after they lose their last molar they cannot chew properly and often die from malnutrition or starvation.
Somsak fashioned the ailing elephant a U-shaped denture about 15 centimeters wide and 15 centimeters long, made from stainless steel, silicone and plastic, and fitted her with it Monday while she was under sedation.
Somsak was uncertain if anyone else has previously made dentures for elephants, although animal dentists have in the past fitted replacement tusks on the beasts.
The Associated Press
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