Checking a Moose’s Enamel | Dr. Oakley, Yukon Vet

published on July 3, 2020

NARRATOR: Today,
the Oakley ladies

are near Anchorage,
headed to the Alaska

wildlife conservation
center for a date

with an iconic northern beast

DR MICHELLE OAKLEY:
Wouldn't it be great

if after I inject [inaudible],,
he just walks right over it

and lays down?

He'll probably smell
the vet stink roll up,

and then he'll head
for the back pasture

[inaudible]

DR MICHELLE OAKLEY: Yeah

So today, we're at AWCC

And I'm going to have a look
at Nelson, their older moose

Hello

– Hello
– How's it going?

Pretty good

How are you?

NARRATOR: Sarah Howard cares
for the center's resident moose

herd

At seven years of age, Nelson
is the biggest and most

cantankerous of the bunch

DR MICHELLE OAKLEY: Ooh, yeah

He's big

Yeah, we can just jab him

Wildlife Center currently
has four bull moose

They're all big,
bold, grumpy males

In the past, the moose
here at the Wildlife Center

have had some teeth problems

So with Nelson's age,
we just want to make

sure his teeth look good

And they're not in bad shape

NARRATOR: Checking this
moose's molars won't be easy

So he's probably
500 kilos, maybe more

NARRATOR: So Michelle's brought
along her daughters, Maya

and Sierra, to help
get the job done

They face 1,300
pounds of brute force

And antlers capable of
delivering a devastating blow

DR MICHELLE OAKLEY: Big,
poky thing coming through

NARRATOR: To get
close, Michelle needs

Nelson to be fully sedate

DR MICHELLE OAKLEY:
You are a big boy

Oop, he sees this

I should hide this

SARAH HOWARD: You and I can
just kind of walk in slowly

Yeah

He's definitely
going to freak out

Oop, he's looking
at it already

Nelson is an adult male moose

So, you know, safety is
our number one concern

Ooh, I could get in
there and get him

right now, if we open the door

NARRATOR: To sedate him,
Michelle and Sarah must

enter the big bull's territory

You– you're going to be
ready to come out here, right

Or he's going to
run away, you think?

NARRATOR: One wrong move
and Nelson could trample

whoever stands in his way

He'll knock it right out of
my hands, though, is the thing

I don't think I can hold
against a moose kick

That's some of it
SARAH HOWARD: It's OK, bud

It's OK

It's OK

It's OK

DR MICHELLE OAKLEY: So I
gave him the injection

Suddenly, he turns

And I'm on the wrong
side of the moose

Yeah, that was scary

Of course he wasn't
happy with me

But more than that he
really was just scared

He was just like, how
do I get away from her?

Now we're just going
to be really quiet,

and hopefully that's
enough to take him down

Let me see if I can
feel in his mouth here

OK, I'm going deep

So I'm just feeling
along his mandible

NARRATOR: Michelle
examines his teeth,

while the AWCC staff
take on some much

needed hoof maintenance

DR MICHELLE OAKLEY: So I'm just
feeling his teeth right now

And they feel really
good, actually

The jaw feels great
on the one side

SARAH HOWARD: That's good news

We'll feel the other side
and see if that's the same

Feels nice on one side,
but kind of thickened when

I compare it to the other
side, like really thickened,

unfortunately

SARAH HOWARD: Uh-oh

They tend to get
lumpy jaw, which

is a poke from some of the
rough things that they chew

Moose in captivity tend to get
something called lumpy jaw

That causes an
infection in the bone,

the mandible, the lower jaw

Sierra, do you want
to bring the x-ray?

And we'll get an
x-ray of his jaw

Yeah

DR MICHELLE OAKLEY: And that
infection can be so severe

that they can stop
eating and lose weight,

and eventually die from it

NARRATOR: An x-ray will
confirm if Nelson shows signs

of a debilitating condition

Does he feel bloaty
to you back there?

Yes

I mean it's bouncy
– Yeah

OK

Quick, get that under there

So bloating is when
the gas is building up

And then he's not burping it

And that gas becomes
a big, bloated belly

So we're going to have to
keep a really close eye on him

as we go

NARRATOR: The buildup of gas can
make it impossible for Nelson

to breathe, and could be fatal

OK

It's a little light, eh?

No, it looks all right

I'm going to do one more
further back, the same

Maya, push him up
a little bit more

OK

OK

Maya, do you want to
pull that plate out?

That feels good

Oh, he's getting bloatier

I'm going to need
to reverse him now

You guys need to
finish up these feet,

best you can do in the next
five minutes, basically

NARRATOR: While Nelson wakes
up from his anesthesia,

Michelle and Sarah determine
the damage to his jaw

Yeah, so this is looking
like basically straight

through the top of his head

Yeah, it's a little thicker

So one thing we see as we
look at Nelson's x-ray is

there does appear
to be a thickening

on the lower left mandible

NARRATOR: An extreme
difference in the size

of Nelson's mandibles could be
cause for immediate treatment

But the thickening, it's
not that different really

With what I'm seeing, I'm
not in any great hurry

to jump to surgery or any kind
of drastic treatment plan

This really could be nothing

For now, we're just going
to keep an eye on him

NARRATOR: Michelle will follow
up on Nelson in the weeks

to come

With a plan in hand, the
Oakley ladies call it a day

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