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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – A highly endangered giant river otter is doing swimmingly well following a precedent-setting double root canal at Zoo Miami.

The dental work was performed Wednesday on Ticuna, a four and a half year old giant otter who had broken both of her upper canines.

This is something that these animals will sometimes do in the wild while chewing on mollusks, bony fish, and other hard substances.  Unfortunately, in the wild, such injuries often prevent the animal from being able to eat properly and can lead to death.


In this case, the 50-pound otter underwent what is believed to be the first time ever double root canal on a giant river otter. The procedure took place at Zoo Miami’s Christopher Weeks Animal Hospital under the care of a full veterinary dental team.

Ticuna actually had both root canals performed simultaneously by two separate doctors in order to reduce the amount of time she had to be under anesthesia.

Ticuna is now fully recovered back at her habitat in Zoo Miami’s Amazon and Beyond exhibit.

Giant otters are the longest of the world’s 13 otter species with males reaching a length of 6 feet.  They are extremely endangered and are naturally found in isolated and remote areas within some fresh water lakes, creeks, rivers, and reservoirs of Tropical South America.  Zoo Miami has one of the country’s most successful captive breeding programs with several litters having been born here.