Here’s a bear that has more than just a sore head….
Neo, a four-year-old European brown bear, had root canal work to treat an abscess at the base of one of his canines.
He visited by a dentist who usually treats small cats and dogs.
His keepers noticed his tooth had become fractured soon after Neo became active following seven weeks of torpor – a lighter form of hibernation.
The operation was performed inside one of the bear dens at the Wild Place Project in South Gloucestershire by veterinary dentist Martin Brice.
He was assisted by the conservation project’s in-house vets Michelle Barrows and Charlotte Day.
Mr Brice, of Emerson’s Green Veterinary Surgery, said: “I’m used to treating much smaller, domestic patients at my clinic in Bristol and it’s always a pleasure to be asked to help out with dental procedures on zoo animals.”
Neo was under general anaesthetic for around three hours, which also allowed zoo vets to carry out a full health check.
The Wild Wood Project is run by Bristol Zoological Society.
Michelle Barrows, head of veterinary services and conservation medicine at the society, said: “As expected, Neo had lost some weight following torpor but is still in good body condition.
“His other results came back all clear and he has made a quick recovery following his dental work.”
Eurasian brown bears are classed as of Least Concern on the IUCN Red List of Threatened species, however local populations in the wild are becoming increasingly scarce.
Wild populations still exist in Northern Europe and in Russia, including a small but growing population in the Pyrenees, the Cantabrian Mountains in Spain, the Abruzzo in South Tyrol and Trentino regions of Italy.
The species became extinct in Britain around 1,000 AD, due to over-hunting.