Lumpy jaw disease is no laughing matter for captive kangaroos. A new Israeli-developed tooth varnish can prevent this deadly dental disease.

Kangaroos in captivity often develop a contagious, and sometimes fatal, gum condition called lumpy jaw disease. Now, veterinarians at Jerusalem’s Biblical Zoo and the northern Gan Garoo Park have teamed up with dentists and pharmacists from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem to create a tooth varnish that successfully prevents the condition.

Kangaroo lumpy jaw

The new toothpaste can prevent lumpy jaw disease in captive kangaroos.

The only currently available antibiotic treatment for this disease required anesthetizing the animals daily for 10 days and keeping them quarantined, which was extremely tough on them and their keepers. In fact, some 40 percent of the marsupials at Gan Garoo died from the disease or the stress of treatment – figures that are reflected at other zoos across the world.

The Israeli team has received requests from zoos in Australia and elsewhere to help create more of the innovative tooth varnish, and has published the “recipe” online.

A company is now being set up at Hebrew University to sell the topical compound, which may also be helpful for dogs and cats.