BISMARCK, N.D. – Nobody likes root canals. The American Association of Endodontists says 15 million root canals happen every year.

On humans, that is.

But on Otters? The Dakota Zoo performed a root canal on Gary the otter on Wednesday. Gary came to the zoo this past summer. Staff believes he had broken canines before he got here, and that led to complications.

“Otters are carnivores and they do need those teeth to help chew fish and other things. So when we saw that, we knew we were gonna have to either plan a root canal or do some tooth extraction to keep that infection and keep mouth pain down to a minimum,” said Allison Alkowski, assistant director.

The procedure was performed by the on-staff veterinarian along with Dr. Aaron Johnson of the Smile Center.

Staff says Gary is doing well, and was even running around outside his exhibit later that same day.

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Author: Jacob Notermann