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Potto undergoes successful dental procedure at Franklin Park Zoo

Potto ProcedureThe staff at Franklin Park Zoo is pleased to report that a female potto underwent a successful dental procedure this morning.

Zoo New England’s veterinary staff, with the assistance of Steven D. Spitz, DMD, removed the fractured canine tooth of a four-year-old female potto, named Miwani. Dr. Susie Bartlett, Zoo New England Associate Veterinarian, also performed a general physical and drew blood for routine testing.

Pottos, small primates noted for their large, dark eyes, are native to the forests and wooded savannahs of West Africa and Central Africa. The nocturnal animals, which are covered with dark brownish fur, are slow-moving, well-camouflaged and are found in the forest canopy. Full-grown pottos measure between 12 to 15 inches long with an average weight of 2 to 3 pounds.

“It can be challenging to perform a tooth extraction on such a small animal. We are grateful to Dr. Spitz for assisting us in this procedure and we look forward to working with him in the future,” said Bartlett, who added, “We will be closely monitoring Miwani, but so far she looks well. She will be on a soft food diet for a few days, but we expect her to make a speedy recovery.”

Potto Procedure 3Spitz, a Needham resident, is a prosthodontist and owner of Smileboston Cosmetic and Implant Dentistry, where he treats human patients on a regular basis. However, for a few weekends throughout the year, he uses his skill to treat animals in wildlife sanctuaries and zoos around the country that are in need of dental care. Through his advanced work with a variety of animals over the years, Spitz has recently partnered with Zoo New England as the dentist on call for both Franklin Park Zoo and Stone Zoo.

“I am thrilled that my experience with the Peter Emily International Veterinary Dental Foundation (PEIVDF) has allowed me to assist animals in need, of all species, at Zoo New England,” said Spitz. “Working with Zoo New England is an honor and I am looking forward to keeping the animals healthy and smiling.”

The North American captive potto population is quite small. Franklin Park Zoo is one of only a few zoos in the country to exhibit pottos, and one of the only zoos which has been consistently adding to the captive population. Learn more about the potto in Franklin Park Zoo's Animals section.