Animal Dentistry on Dr. Oakley, Yukon Vet

Wild animals that are in captivity can have many of the same dental conditions as people. On this week’s episode of Dr. Oakley, Yukon Vet: Moose on the Loose, Dr. Oakley finds herself with her hands in a few animals’ mouths. Animals can have orthodontic abnormalities, fractured teeth, and even painful cavities just like us. Using similar tools to a human dentist, Dr. Oakley is able to get her charges smiling again.

Chipmunk Cheeks

Dr. Oakley’s first dental case involves a reindeer with “chipmunk cheeks.” Although the condition sounds cute, it actually means big trouble for the animal. Food becomes impacted between the teeth and cheek instead of making it into the stomach, causing the reindeer’s face to swell. The food then rots in the mouth and the reindeer can slowly starve.

First Dr. Oakley has to clear out the food and then try to figure out the underlying problem. Looking at the teeth, she finds some sharp edges that might be causing the problem. Sometimes when an animal’s teeth are a little off in alignment, it can cause points on the tooth. So Dr. Oakley gets out her trusty file and files down the ridges on the teeth until they are perfectly smooth.

Rodent Teeth

Dr. Oakley’s next adventure in dental care involves a porcupine. Porcupines are rodents, so they have rodent incisor teeth at the front which continue to grow. Normally, porcupines can wear down their teeth all on their own, but Peggy Sue the porcupine was hit by a car which caused a misalignment of her jaw. When the teeth don’t line up correctly, they grow in funky ways. And as Dr. Oakley points out, “No one wants funky teeth.” So she fixes the problem by cutting the teeth down. There actually isn’t a whole lot of sensitivity in the tip of porcupine teeth. All the same, Peggy Sue is sedated and given pain control so that she doesn’t feel anything during the process. It’s very relaxing trip to the dentist!

Does Your Pet Need Dental Care?
According to the American Animal Hospital Association, dental care is very important for our own pets as well, and an essential component of a preventative healthcare plan. In their 2013 guidelines the organization states, “Quality dental care is necessary to provide optimum health and quality of life. If left untreated, diseases of the oral cavity are painful and can contribute to other local or systemic diseases.”

In addition to preventative exams watch for the following signs of a problem:

  • Bad breath
  • Swollen face
  • Chronic eye problems
  • Sneezing and nasal discharge
  • Rubbing face
  • Dropping food when eating
  • Abnormal chewing
  • Not eating

We can’t all have Dr. Oakley out to our homes, but if you see any these signs, it might be time to get to a veterinarian who has experience with animal dentistry. Luckily for the animals in the Yukon, Dr. Oakley is out there to give them a helping hand.

Tune in to this week’s episode of Dr. Oakley, Yukon Vet: Moose on the Loose on Saturday December 27 at 9PM et/pt!


  1. lee
    January 2, 2015, 12:07 am

    I think that it is cool to have animal Dr. in this world. However, to run a marathon on NG wild is very boring. It is a waste of money to air such show as this along with the other Dr. of animals all day. The wild Alaska venture with humans trying to survive nature in that part of the world is no logic. Again, just a waste of money and air time. Great job on filming animals in their natural habitats, such as Lions and other great animals.

  2. Brenda Evans
    Downey, CA 90242
    January 24, 2015, 3:28 pm

    I would love to spend 1 month with her and go out with her just to see all the different obstacles she faces up close. I have two emotional support animals and I seem to think I would’nt need either one if I got to take this trip, if that is possible. I would miss one of them though and would love to take her. Her name is Miah. She is a Shizu/Poodle mix. This seems to be just the thing I need to conquer my Addison’s stress. It helps to have stress to avoid it in myself. Just saying.
    Thank you,
    Brenda Evans

  3. carole
    February 13, 2015, 11:34 am

    Why has Dr Oakley been dropped from our programming??