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northern elephant seal with mouth open, showing teeth

Treatment of Canine Tooth Fractures in the Northern Elephant Seal: Three Cases

  • Teeth
  • Surgery


The Marine Mammal Center (TMMC) in Sausalito, California, rescues, rehabilitates, and releases hundreds of stranded northern elephant seals (Mirounga angustirostris) each year. Common causes for stranding include maternal separation, malnutrition, and trauma. Causes of trauma include shark bites, conspecific interactions, and anthropogenic factors. Several cases of fractured teeth, secondary to presumed trauma, are presented to the center each year. This case series describes surgical approach and treatment of 3 young northern elephant seals that were admitted to TMMC for rehabilitation with tooth fractures with pulp exposure of maxillary or mandibular canine teeth. All 3 seals were successfully released into their natural environment.

Hodesson, D.L., Force, J., Whoriskey, S., Field, C. 2019. Treatment of canine tooth fractures in the Northern Elephant seal: three cases. J Vet Dentistry 361(1):52-61.

Cara Field
Sophie Whoriskey

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