• A Comparison of Observed Molar Wear Rates in Extant Herbivorous Mammals

    Here we review published molar wear rates, measured in terms of tooth height loss per year (mm yr -1 ) published on natural populations of ungulates (25 species), rodents and lagomorphs (Glires; 14 species) and macropodid marsupials (seven species). Although the data are limited, they nevertheless reveal consistent patterns, and raise new questions. Among ungulates, wear rates are uncorrelated with body mass but are positively correlated with hypsodonty. Browsers show lower wear rates than do mixed feeders or grazers. Percentage of grass in the diet shows a non-linear relationship with wear rates suggesting that levels of dietary abrasives result from a complex interaction among forages, habitat characteristics and feeding behaviours (whether or not grass itself is a significant abrasive agent). Rodents exhibit higher wear rates, and kangaroos lower wear rates, than do ungulates feeding on similar diets. Hypselodont rodents and lagomorphs show rates of molar wear an order of magnitude higher than do grazing ungulates.More »
  • Computed Tomographic and Radiographic Examination of Dental Structures in South American Camelid Specimen of Different Ages

    Tooth root problems and periodontal diseases are common in South American camelids (SAC). The objective was to evaluate and optimize the imaging technique for dental radiography in SAC and to describe the radiographic and computed tomographic (CT) anatomy of normal teeth at different ages. In this study, the heads of 20 healthy SAC slaughtered for meat production or euthanized for reasons not related to dental problems included 7 female and 10 male llamas and 3 male alpacas. Using a standardized protocol, radiographs and CT scans of the 20 specimen were performed.More »
  • Tooth Root Abscesses in Llamas and Alpacas: 123 cases (1994-2005)

    OBJECTIVE: To determine features, outcome, and complications of surgical treatment of camelid tooth root abscesses. DESIGN: Retrospective case series. ANIMALS: 123 camelids with tooth root abscesses. PROCEDURES: Signalment, history, teeth involved, surgery performed, ancillary diagnostic tests, and short-term complications were recorded from each medical record. An owner questionnaire was used to obtain long-term (> 1 year) follow-up information. RESULTS: The most common surgical treatments included tooth extraction (n = 106) and apicoectomy (13). Owners provided follow-up information on 84 animals. Postoperative complications were reported in 42 of 84 animals. The most common complications included reinfection (n = 15), chronic draining tract (14), and osteomyelitis (14). Significantly more camelids that were in good or obese body condition at the time of surgery were alive at the time of follow-up, compared with those with thin body condition at the time of surgery. Camelids with 2 teeth extracted had significantly more complications than those with 1 tooth extracted. Thirty-four of 47 owners reported that they were completely satisfied with the outcome. CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE: Owners of camelids in poor body condition should be forewarned that such animals are at greater risk for complications following dental surgery. Clinicians should recognize that the number of teeth affected was not associated with a poorer outcome.More »