On Friday, 22 July, one of the Cheetah Conservation Fund's (CCF) most important resident cheetahs, Chewbaaka, made a visit to Otjiwarongo Dentist, Dr. Dennis Profit, for an infected gum.
The day before, the famous ambassador cheetah was observed to have a swollen lower jaw, extreme salivation and tenderness to the touch. Local veterinarian, Dr. Marc Jago, from the Otjiwarongo Veterinary Clinic was contacted and arrangements were set to more closely observe the cause of the problem.
Chewbaaka, CCF's 10 year old ambassador cheetah, was orphaned when he was 3 weeks old and has been at CCF ever since. The star of many TV documentaries, the cheetah has had several visits to the dentist over the years, as a result of a malformation of his teeth resulting in what is known as Focal Palatine Erosion (FPE). FPE results when the lower molar wears an erosion in the upper palate of the cheetahs mouth and has been one of the physiological problems that the Cheetah Conservation Fund has studied over the years in their work with the wild cheetahs here in Namibia.
Following aesthesia at the Otjiwarongo Veterinary Clinic, Dr. Jago transported the cheetah to Dr. Profit's dental office were digital x-rays were taken showing a problem under the gumline. Chewbaaka was given a root canal four years prior and a remnant of the root was left, which was found to be causing the acute infection.
The root was extracted and Chewbaaka's mouth stitched. The next day, the swelling was down and Chewbaaka was back to his old self.
• Chewbaaka appears in a documentary which will be shown on the Animal Planet channel this Thursday at 6PM.
The media are always welcome to come to the CCF Centre (44km outside Otjiwarongo on the D2440 road). Please notify CCF in advance if you plan to come out for a story.