Media & news

Dental implant puts dog back to work stopping poachers

by: Michael Stuart

When he broke a tooth in the line of duty, it looked like Landa the working dog’s career protecting endangered animals from poachers had come to an end. However, thanks to a dental implant, the Weimaraner is now back in action.

Dr. Auke van der Meulen

For Dr. Auke van der Meulen this was the first implant placement in a dog.

A key member of the K9 anti-poaching unit at the Sabi Sabi game reserve in South Africa, one of Landa’s teeth was severely damaged during a poaching incident.

Like his father before him, Landa plays a key role for owner Conraad Geza de Rosner by tracking animals wounded by poachers. With a missing canine, however, Landa would struggle to defend himself when needed, meaning he would no longer be able to carry out his duties.

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Landa healed site prior to implant placement

The healed site prior to implant placement.

A determined team

When the Nobel Biocare South Africa team heard about Landa’s plight, they offered a solution to get him back out into the bush.

Sponsored by Nobel Biocare, Landa had surgery to remove the damaged tooth back in March, with a NobelActive titanium implant placed in the healed site two months later.

For Dr. Auke van der Meulen who carried out the surgery, it was the first operation of this kind on a dog. Supporting Dr. van der Meulen were veterninary surgeons Dr. Reynier Oelofsen and Dr. Graeme Harman, as well as dental technician Mr. Carl Potgieter.

Landa’s canine has recently been fully restored with a custom-made NobelProcera titanium crown. 

Video: SABC News report on the operation

Landa's NobelProcera titanium canine

A prosthetic canine for a real canine: Landa's new custom-made tooth.

A successful result

According to Nobel Biocare’s Country Manager in South Africa, Mark Mathias, Landa can expect a successful result: “Titanium is a miracle substance in that it can be accepted by the body of humans or animals. Though this is the first operation of its kind on a dog in South Africa, it has already taken place elsewhere in the world.”

Mathias reports that the operation was a success and that Landa is now back at work protecting endangered species from the threat of poaching.

Conraad Geza de Rosner is understandably thrilled to have his faithful sidekick back in the team:

“I am so happy that we can do this for Landa. He is doing such wonderful work in our anti-poaching unit. We would have half the successes without him.”

Poachers beware – thanks to implantology, Landa’s bite is as fierce as his bark once again. 

Dental-mplant-based restoration in place

With his new titanium tooth in place, Landa can return to
playing an important role for the anti-poaching unit.