A Safe and Cost Effective Oral Care Regime to Control Gingivitis and Periodontal Disease in the Northern Sea Otter (Enhydra lutrislutris)
This study is an evaluation of a novel approach to oral health in captive northern sea otters. Prior to the study no oral care was
provided. The animals' diets contained a daily combination of shucked butter and surf clams, cod fillets, occasional whole crab and shrimp. Oral evaluation of
all subject animals revealed to have advanced periodontal disease with severe calculus accumulation, deep periodontal pockets (9-10 mm) and a grade 2 +
mobility some molars. A daily long-term preventative program for oral hygiene was developed by combining the mechanical and chemical agents of ice cubes with
0.5 ml of CHX-Guard LA (long acting zinc chlorhexidate gel by VRx Products, Harbor City, CA 90710), following initial periodontal treatments (root planing).
The animals were re-evaluated 6, 12, 18, and 24 months later on their oral health and were found not to have periodontal disease nor gingivitis. Thus, oral
health has been improved and has reduced the animals risk management with minimal cost and labor involvement.