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Dental injuries to or abnormalities in functionally important teeth and associated bones in predators may significantly reduce the ability to kill and consume prey (Lazar et al. 2009). This impairment is likely exacerbated in coursing predators, such as Gray Wolves, that bite and hold onto fleeing and kicking prey with their teeth. Damage to carnassials (upper fourth premolar, P4, and lower first molar, M1) and associated bones in Gray Wolves may especially inhibit the consumption of prey because these teeth slice meat and crush bone. Here I report maxillary osteomyelitis involving the carnassials in a wild Gray Wolf from northeastern Minnesota of such severity that I hypothesize it ultimately caused the Gray Wolf to starve to death.
Additional Publication Details
Severe maxillary osteomyelitis in a Gray Wolf (Canis lupus)