Dentist operates on tigers at Devon zoo

  • 9 July 2010
  • From the section Devon

A dentist used to taking care of human teeth has had a special appointment - operating on two tigers at a Devon zoo.

Dr Peter Kertesz, who has a surgery in central London, treated the tigers for broken canines at Dartmoor Zoological Park near Plymouth.

They were put to sleep in the moated tiger enclosure and taken by pick-up truck to a specially-created surgery.

One of the tigers had broken a tooth chewing on a life ring which had been thrown into the enclosure by children.

Dr Kertesz is one of only a few specialist zoo dentists in the world, a sideline to his day job of treating humans at his surgery in London's West End.

His animal career began more than 20 years ago when someone brought in their cat for treatment and he has carried out dental work on exotic species including whales, pandas and elephants.

Image caption A tiger is taken for treatment after being sedated

Zoo curator Will Walker said: "We have had him twice before over the last couple of years to do all our bears and other tigers."

"They have to be anaesthetized or you wouldn't stand a chance.

"A school group threw something into the enclosure which wasn't supposed to be thrown in.

"It's a moated enclosure and one of the kids from a visiting school thought it was a great idea to throw in a life ring and the tiger broke her tooth on it.

The dentist's bill will be £4,500 for the day.

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites