JOURNAL ARTICLE

DENTAL DISEASES AND OTHER ORAL PATHOLOGIES OF CAPTIVE JAGUARS ( PANTHERA ONCA ) FROM BELIZE, CENTRAL AMERICA

Lindsey A Schneider, Isabel A Jimenez, Esther E V Crouch, Gerald E Duhamel, Nadine Fiani, George V Kollias, Santiago Peralta
Journal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine: Official Publication of the American Association of Zoo Veterinarians 2021, 51 (4): 856-867
33480566
Dental and oral diseases are prevalent in many mammalian species including wild felids. Determining the dental and oral health status of captive animal populations can help establish preventive and therapeutic strategies, leading to improved welfare and conservation efforts. The aim of this study was to assess the prevalence of periodontal disease, endodontic disease, tooth resorption, and other clinically relevant dental and maxillofacial abnormalities in a population of captive jaguars ( Panthera onca ) using clinical, radiographic, and histopathological findings. Fifteen jaguars, ranging from young adult to geriatric, kept at a private zoo in Belize, Central America, had a detailed oral examination under general anesthesia between January 2015 and March 2019. Periodontitis was present in 3.8% (16/423) of examined teeth and 53.8% (7/13) of jaguars that underwent periodontal probing. Endodontic disease secondary to dentoalveolar trauma was found in 21.0% (89/423) of teeth in 73.3% (11/15) of animals. Tooth resorption, which has not been previously documented in jaguars, affected 1.4% (6/423) of teeth in 13.3% (2/15) of jaguars. Other abnormalities included metallic foreign material (gunshot) identified radiographically in 33.3% (5/15) of jaguars and nontraumatizing malocclusion in 9.1% (1/11) of jaguars that had occlusion evaluated. Much of the oral pathology identified in captive jaguars is suspected to arise from capture and/or captivity-associated behaviors, as suggested by gunshot around the oral cavity, fractures of rostral teeth (canine and incisor teeth), and abrasions consistent with cage-biting on canine teeth. Anesthetized oral examination-including full-mouth intraoral radiographs, periodontal probing, and charting-is recommended for jaguars with clinical signs of oral pain, as well as for routine systemic evaluation.

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