Tusk Extractions in the Walrus
IAAAM 1988
B. Welsch, DMD, MS; M. Walsh, DVM; D. Beusse, DVM

The etiology and post surgical management of tusk extractions in walrus have been covered adequately by Cornell, et.al. 1987. The actual removal of the tusk can be handled much less traumatically by modifying the procedure to follow closely that for elephant. (Welsh, unpublished manuscript.)

First the tusk is sectioned horizontally leaving a flat surface and 2/2 inch of tusk exposed. Since the walrus tusk unlike the elephant tusk, is solid at this point, two guide holes are drilled along the long axis of the cut face so that the distance between the hole and the outer surface is the same laterally, medially and either dorsally or ventrally, depending on whether it is the dorsal or ventral hole. Once access to the pulp chamber has been established, the holes are enlarged exactly as in elephants, so that the walls of the tusk are thinned as much as possible without perforating the tusk. Four cuts are made through the tusk from internal to external with a saw and tusk splitter. The sections are initially freed with bone gouges and mallet. Then the tusk sections are removed with tapered stainless steel rods resembling screwdrivers as elevators and pliers as forceps.

Anesthesia and Tusk Extraction in Walrus, Cornell, L.H; Joseph, B.E. and Antrim, J.E., Journal of Zoo Animal Medicine; Volume 18, No. 1, March 1987, pp.3-6

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B. Welsch, DMD, MS

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