Our Grévy’s zebra stallion Bakari got a full work-up recently from nose to hooves – so to speak! The 10-year-old received a dental exam along with a hoof trim while sedated. This is just one example of the preventative healthcare our Zoo strives to offer all of our animal residents. Both dental issues and hoof issues can lead to a number of serious health problems, but by providing Bakari with this continuing care, we hope to keep him healthy and sound!
Bakari has a history of dental issues stemming from an abnormal dental structure. Zebra teeth grow continuously throughout their lives, and Bakari’s abnormal teeth positioning causes his teeth to wear down unevenly. He’s had multiple dental extractions and even a root canal. After noticing recent advancements of Bakari’s dental disease, we decided to organize an exam for a more thorough dental procedure and hoof trim. Despite all of these dental issues – Bakari never seems to be in pain or have trouble eating!
These in-depth procedures made it necessary to anesthetize Bakari. Members of the horse family can get nervous and thrash around while being sedated or recovering from sedation, potentially leading to injuries, so our veterinary team ensured the process was as calm as possible, using drugs that act quickly and are reversible. These medications can also affect breathing, heart rate and blood pressure, so Bakari was monitored the entire time with additional medications and interventions at the ready.
Dr. Patrick Beigel, a large animal veterinarian from Newman Equine and Associates, examined Bakari, ultimately power floating his teeth, a process that smooths the teeth, and cleaning out a cavity.
While Bakari will voluntarily present his hooves for a trim, our animal care team decided to use the time the stallion was sedated for a more thorough hoof trim. This process is done on domestic horses as well and involves shaping and/or trimming overgrowth. Members of the Zoo Hoofstock Trim Program (ZHTP) were on-site for two days for continuing education with our keepers, and they took a closer look at Bakari’s hooves and helped our keepers trim all four.
Bakari came out of anesthesia well, and he is back to his normal self. See if you can spot him in one of his habitats – the Africa veldt or our Cape to Cairo Express Train yard!
Brevard Zoo is an independent, not-for-profit organization that receives no recurring government funding for our operating costs. Your generous support enables us to continue to serve our community and continue our vital animal wellness, education and conservation programs.