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Extracting a Wolf Tooth

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Extracting a Wolf Tooth
March 26, 2024

During gray wolf Canagan’s triennial examination in November, Northwest Trek Wildlife Park’s head veterinarian, Dr. Allison Case, identified an infection in one of his molars. Canagan was given antibiotics while Dr. Case consulted with a veterinary dentist. Together, they decided the tooth needed to be extracted.

Wolf molars are one of the more difficult teeth to extract – they are big with two extra-large roots.

Associate Veterinarian Dr. Cassidy Soehnlein was tasked with the tough job.

As Dr. Soehnlein and Veterinary Technician Tracy intubated Canagan and got him settled under anesthesia, Dr. Case and keeper Haley also took the opportunity to examine his feet. Haley had noticed Canagan licking his paw the day before. Upon inspection, they saw a sore and were able to treat it with a topical ointment.

Before starting the procedure, Dr. Soehnlein took a radiograph of the infected tooth to get one more look at the roots and infection. She then began the long process of loosening the gums and very strong ligament that holds the tooth in place.

Tracy administered pain medications and fluids throughout the exam.

Dr. Soehnlein cut the tooth in half so each root could be pulled separately.

The process is long because of the tooth size, but Dr. Soehnlein wanted to ensure she didn’t break the tooth – which would make it even more challenging to extract.

After a few hours of work, Dr. Soehnlein was successful in pulling each side of the tooth and she deservedly celebrated.

She took one more radiograph to ensure she extracted the whole tooth and then stitched up Canagan’s gums.

After some time eating soft foods, Canagan is doing well and is back on his regular diet.