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Nweeia M.T.,Harvard University | Nweeia M.T.,Smithsonian Institution | Eichmiller F.C.,Delta Dental of Wisconsin | Hauschka P.V.,Childrens Hospital Boston | And 7 more authors.
Anatomical Record | Year: 2012

Narwhal tusks, although well described and characterized within publications, are clouded by contradictory references, which refer to them as both incisors and canines. Vestigial teeth are briefly mentioned in the scientific literature with limited descriptions and no image renderings. This study first examines narwhal maxillary osteoanatomy to determine whether the erupted tusks are best described as incisiform or caniniform teeth. The study also offers evidence to support the evolutionary obsolescence of the vestigial teeth through anatomic, morphologic, and histologic descriptions. Examination of 131 skull samples, including 110 museum skull specimens and 21 harvested skulls, revealed the erupted tusks surrounded by maxillary bone over the entire length of their bone socket insertion, and are thus more accurately termed caniniform or canine teeth. The anatomy, morphology, and development of vestigial teeth in five skull samples are more fully described and documented. Vestigial tooth samples included 14 embedded pairs or individual teeth that were partially exposed or removed from the maxillary bone. Their location was posterior, ventral, and lateral to the tusks, although male vestigial teeth often exfoliate in the mouth lodging between the palatal tissue and underlying maxillary bone. Their myriad morphologies, sizes, and eruption patterns suggest that these teeth are no longer guided by function but rather by random germ cell differentiation and may eventually cease expression entirely. The conclusions reached are that the narwhal tusks are the expression of canine teeth and that vestigial teeth have no apparent functional characteristics and are following a pattern consistent with evolutionary obsolescence. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.


Schrader G.M.,Calgary Zoo Animal Health Center | Schrader G.M.,University of Calgary | Whiteside D.P.,Calgary Zoo Animal Health Center | Whiteside D.P.,University of Calgary | And 3 more authors.
Journal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine | Year: 2012

Therapy for pyothorax, or pleural empyema, has not been described for large felids. This case describes the successful treatment of pyothorax in a captive, large felid. A 15-yr-old multiparous, female Amur tiger (Panthera tigris altaica) presented with nonspecific clinical signs caused by an insidious onset of pyothorax. Management of pyothorax cases in companion animals often involves thoracostomy tube placement with recurrent drainage of the pleural cavity, intensive supportive care, and monitoring. In this case, conservative management was elected because hospitalization was not a viable option. Thoracocentesis was performed to drain as much fluid from the chest cavity as possible, yielding more than 1.3 L. Corynebacterium sp. and unidentified anaerobic gram-positive cocci were cultured. Treatment included cefovecin subcutaneously, oral antibiotic therapy with clindamycin and marbofloxacin, meloxicam, and restricted exercise by minimizing access to the main exhibit. Significant improvement was noted clinically and radiographically 6 wk later, and no relapses were noted in the following weeks. An examination 11.5 mo later confirmed resolution. © 2012 American Association of Zoo Veterinarians.

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