Bilateral Alveolar Osteitis Due to Traumatic Avulsion of the Maxillary Canines in a Sumatran Orangutan (Pongo abelii)
A 31-year-old female Sumatran orangutan (Pongo abelii) was presented for evaluation of bilateral alveolar osteitis following traumatic avulsion of both maxillary canines during transport between zoological institutions. The patient was observed self-traumatizing the wounds repeatedly using both fingers and pieces of bamboo. Due to management and quarantine concerns, repair was attempted approximately 3 weeks following the initial injury; medical management with antibiotics and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs was instituted with mixed success prior to this. At time of the surgery, the teeth were absent with no evidence of retained roots, but severe gingival recession was noted. A single-layer mucoperiosteal gingival flap was performed at each site following debridement of granulation tissue and necrotic alveolar bone. Postoperative healing had no complications, and followup 4 months later showed complete resolution. Wound healing was potentially challenging due to the species; however, close cooperation of the veterinary staff and zookeepers allowed a comprehensive postoperative recovery plan to be implemented that included behavioral enrichment, positive reinforcement, and frequent conscious rechecks.
The authors thank Ms. Sarah Schwenzer, LVT and Ms. Jennifer Stahl for assistance in developing the postoperative care plan for this patient.