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Odum the bear named by Julia Roberts gets relief from pain after tooth extraction in Bengaluru

Odum following his tooth extraction is enjoying his regular diet of fruits and dates

Thanks to his caregivers, Odum, a 22-year-old male sloth bear has finally got relief from his toothache as a broken incisor was extracted to provide him immediate relief. The bear, named by well-known Hollywood actress, Julia Roberts, is an inmate of the Wildlife SOS Bannerghatta Bear Rescue Centre located in Bengaluru, Karnataka run jointly by the NGO and the State Forest Department.

Odum, who is a playful and active animal showed signs of discomfort as the staff observed that he was eating less and had become inactive. He was immediately examined by the veterinary doctors who conducted an X-ray examination revealing that the bear’s lower incisor was broken, causing him immense pain and discomfort.

They immediately extracted the tooth and kept him on prescribed painkillers for 5 days as part of postoperative care. He was provided with a semi-liquid diet of porridge for a few days after which he was back to a normal diet of porridge, eggs, fruits and dates.

Odum during tooth extraction
Odum was sedated and his broken incisor was extracted by the vets

Talking about this case, Dr Arun A. Sha, Director- Research & Veterinary Operations, Wildlife SOS said: “As oral health is a reflection of body health, any decline in dental care can lead to fluctuations in dietary habits and social behaviours. Bacterial infections and permanent canine teeth damage are negative outcomes of declining oral health. It is reassuring to see that our efforts are making a positive difference in the lives of these bears.”

A victim of the dancing bear trade, he was rescued in 2009 from a village in Karnataka. He had stunted growth due to malnourishment and poor care as a cub. Shooting for her film “Eat, Pray, Love” in India, actress Roberts who visited the Centre named him Odum.

Odum broken tooth
The broken incisor

Dancing bears are subjected to the painful trauma of having their delicate muzzle pierced by hot iron pokers and their teeth forcibly removed. As the injuries are not treated, they suffer from dental infections, rotting teeth, painful abscesses and mouth ulcerations, and foul breath.