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Groundhog Braces

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Orthodontics for Groundhogs

The first groundhog (woodchuck), who had braces, was called Stormy. He lived in Brookfield Zoo and got his appliance in 2005. (Zoo’s Groundhog) Groundhog’s teeth grow about 1.27cm each month throughout their entire life. This 4-year-old rodent’s bottom teeth however grew in a "V" shape, therefore he could not grind his food properly and his teeth didn’t wear well enough either. (Groundhog Gets Braces) The zoo’s chief veterinarian, Dr. Tom Meehan trimmed the teeth and put on a stainless steel wire. This wire was attached to a notch that was previously carved into the teeth’s sides. This appliance was replaced many times due to the rapid growth of his teeth.  This treatment tightened his teeth properly, and after the process he became able to wear down his teeth properly. Even during winter hibernation he faced no difficulties. The procedure was less expensive than for humans and maintenance was uncomplicated. What was interesting though, is that  after a couple of wire-changes the groundhog developed resistance to the anaesthesia mask and began holding his breath! (Zoo’s Groundhog)

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