Hooo-Hooo Volume 11 Nr 3 - Page 5

South african vets & maxillofacial surgeon Successfully Lengthen Broken jaw of Chimp in Groundbreaking Surgical Procedure By Dr Katja Koeppel & Dr Gerhard Steenkamp In what is known to be a first of its kind, a group of South African veterinarians together with a maxillofacial surgeon succeeded in surgically lengthening the misaligned jaw of an adult male chimpanzee. Claude, a 15-year-old chimpanzee living at Chimp Eden, a South African chimpanzee sanctuary affiliated with the Jane Goodall Institute (JGI), had trouble eating properly. He came to Chimp Eden in 2010 from the Central African Republic where he was a victim of the bushmeat trade and kept as a pet. He was isolated in a small cage made of cement and bars, with no trees or grass to enrich his life. Rescuers were made aware of Claude and the JGI was contacted. Claude has a friendly personality and settled well into his new group at the sanctuary in the Mpumalanga province in South Africa. Though he had been locked up alone for most of his life, he displayed good social skills and was accepted by the others. As a fairly large male, Claude was able to ascend quite rapidly in the hierarchy of his new group. Claude’s Surgery During Claude’s examinations in 2016, Dr Gerhard Steenkamp, a Senior Lecturer at the University of Pretoria, realized that Claude’s jaw was misaligned and that the chimp had difficulty in eating properly. Initial radiographs showed that his lower jaw had sustained trauma many years before and probably were fractured. The fracture was either poorly stabilized or not at all. It healed in an abnormal fashion, leaving Claude with this misaligned jaw. Dr Katja Koeppel, a Wildlife Specialist Veterinarian from the University or Pretoria arranged for a Computed Tomography (CT) scan at the local MediClinic in Mbombela in March 2017, and it was only after the CT was evaluated that the extent of Claude’s deformation was evident. At the same time, impressions of the mouth were made. Jaw length discrepancies can be corrected through orthodontic treatment or through corrective jaw surgery (orthognathic surgery). 2017 October 5