Burrito spent much of his day just like this:
His friends did cause a ruckus midday that got him up and alert, and, later in the day, I saw him sitting on his “stoop” on the other side of the mesh while Negra groomed him and Foxie checked in on him. But that was enough activity for the day. He didn’t even want to move much to eat his dinner of mashed sweet potatoes.
Since we have had Burrito in recovery many times we know he’s usually out for a day after a procedure, so it was good he was even a little active and eating.
Since J.B.’s post yesterday about Burrito’s procedure, some people were asking how we knew that there was an issue with his tooth. It was an observation made by staff caregiver Kelsi who noticed that the left side of his face was swollen by his nose. Volunteer caregiver Krissy said she had also noticed that and newest staff caregiver Jenna shared a video that showed the swelling, but it was really only noticeable upon close inspection.
Per Dr. Erin, we first tried giving Burrito an antihistamine to see if the swelling went down, which would have indicated some sort of allergic reaction. When that did not result in a significant reduction in the swelling, there weren’t many other options for what it could be, and Dr. Erin started organizing the team in preparation of a tooth extraction. She surmised that it was likely his upper canine on that side.
Chimpanzees have some impressive canines. Willy B kindly allowed me to take this photo today while he was eating dinner in order to show you:
The part of the tooth that is visible doesn’t even begin to reveal the full tooth, though. Here is a photo of Burrito’s tooth that was removed yesterday, cleaned up by staff veterinary assistant Sofía:
You can imagine that it was quite a lot of work to get that tooth, with it’s long root, out of Burrito’s mouth. I’m happy to say that I was not personally in the room when that work was happening, but I could hear the drilling as we were cleaning.
No doubt Burrito will be a much happier man without that issue bothering him. And his smile will likely be even more charming.
Willy B’s missing front teeth, for example, is his signature look; one that he likes to check out whenever he gets the chance:
In fact, this is not Burrito’s first tooth removal at the sanctuary. Several years ago, he fractured his left lower canine and had an upper incisor pulled at the same time. That was when we had a much different set-up for procedures and the chimpanzee would have to be wheeled outside of the building to the back of an RV that J.B. had retrofitted into a medical clinic.
Though the “mobile clinic” worked fine, and was all we could manage given our resources at the time, I don’t think anyone misses those days. We are extremely happy to have a clinic within the building that is much better outfitted, and very grateful to donors who made this possible as part of Phase 1 of the building expansion.
The more procedures we do, the more we realize that there are certain things that would be helpful to have, so we will likely be looking to purchase some more medical equipment for the chimps in the future.
In the meantime, we are forever thankful to everyone who has contributed not just specifically to the expansion, onsite clinic, and equipment upgrades, but also so grateful to everyone who continuously supports the sanctuary, allowing us to continuously improve the care that we are able to provide all of the chimpanzees and the bovines.