A big dental procedure for a big cat!

Our veterinary teams got up-close and personal with Jaya this month to help provide relief from a tooth ache. 

At nearly 15-years-old, Jaya is well into his golden years, and as tigers age, it’s not uncommon to see some wear and tear on their teeth. 

When keepers noticed Jaya wasn’t feeling his tigery-best, our veterinary teams developed a plan to improve his dental health and allow him to claw back some comfort. 

With the help of a consulting veterinary team from Animalius, Jaya underwent a root canal procedure at the Vet Hospital. 

Like all our animals, Jaya has an individualised welfare plan comprised of enrichment activities, specialised diets and of course, a regularly scheduled visit to the Vet Hospital.  

Perth Zoo Veterinarian Rebecca Vaughan-Higgins said: “Jaya is an older tiger with quite an extensive medical history, so while he was under anaesthetic we also closely examined his body condition and joint mobility, and collected pathology samples for testing.

“We’re pleased to say he’s looking quite healthy for a tiger his age, but we will continue to monitor him closely for any changes.”

Many of you would be aware that we have been watching Jaya’s health for some time. In 2018, he was diagnosed with an ectopic thyroid carcinoma and had a tumour removed. 

After that operation, his post-surgery prognosis was considered to be around nine months.  

Considering that was over four years ago, Jaya is certainly proving to be a cat with nine lives!

“With Jaya’s history, we also repeated radiographs to check whether there had been any new growths that needed attention, but thankfully we didn’t find anything sinister,” Rebecca said. 

Following the root canal procedure and overall health check, Jaya recovered in a warm bed in his nightquarters, under the watchful eyes of his keepers. 

While Jaya certainly bounced back from this procedure, we know that every day we have with this older gentleman is precious. 

Well done to all of the animal carers working to give Jaya the very best care!