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Saturday, July 30, 2005

Famous Cheetah Visits the Dentist

By Namibia Economist (Windhoek)
July 29, 2005

One of the Cheetah Conservation Fund's (CCF) most famous resident cheetahs, Chewbaaka, made a visit to Otjiwarongo dentist, Dr. Dennis Profit, last week Friday for an infected gum. The day before, the famous cheetah ambassador was discovered to have a swollen lower jaw, extreme salivation and tenderness to the touch.

Local veterinarian Dr. Marc Jago from the Otjiwarongo Veterinary Clinic was contacted and arrangements were made to check out more closely the cause of the problem.

Veterinarian Marc Jago and dentist Dennis Profit of Otjiwarongo examining a patient who happens to be the famous CCF cheetah 'Chewbaaka'. This cat, who has appeared in several wildlife documentaries, is no stranger to the dentist having had serious tooth problems before.

Chewbaaka, CCF's 10-year-old cheetah ambassador, was orphaned when he was three weeks old and has been at the CCF ever since. The star of many TV documentaries, the cheetah has had several visits to the dentist over the years because of a malformation of his teeth resulting in what is known as Focal Palatine Erosion (FPE). FPE results when the lower molar wears an erosion in the upper palate of the cheetah's mouth and has been one of the physiological problems that the Cheetah Conservation Fund has studied over the years in their work with wild cheetahs in Namibia.

Following an anaesthetic at the Otjiwarongo Veterinary Clinic, Dr. Jago transported the cheetah to Dr. Profit's dental office were digital x-rays were taken showing a problem under the gumline.

Chewbaaka had been given a root canal four years prior and a remnant of the root was left, which was found to be causing the acute infection. The root was extracted and Chewbaaka's mouth stitched. The next day the swelling was down and Chewbaaka was back to his old self.

Chewbaaka recently starred in another documentary. The first was broadcast this week on DSTV's Animal Planet channel.

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