Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Toothpaste for kangaroos

We have a great kangeroo park here in the north of the country and "lumpy jaw" disease is a serious – often even fatal – condition for captive kangaroos. Now, an Israeli-innovated tooth varnish is keeping their gums in top shape. The contagious gum disease that tends to plague kangaroos living in captivity presented a major problem for marsupials at Jerusalem’s Tisch Family Zoo and at Gan Garoo Park in the Galilee. Until now, the only available antibiotic treatment required anesthetizing the animals daily for 10 days and keeping them quarantined a course that was extremely tough on them and their keepers. Some 40 percent of Gan Garoo’s kangaroos died from the disease or the stress of treatment. And figures were the same at zoos all over the world. But professors at Hebrew University’s dentistry and pharmacy schools came to the rescue. Working with veterinary professionals at the two facilities, they developed a topical, slow-release, one-time treatment. Zoos all over the world are keen to get hold of the preparation for their own animals.

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