Eight adult (six male and two female) wild Qinling giant pandas (Ailuropoda melanoleuca qinlingensis) from China National Foping Nature Reserve were tracked, and their dental data collected and recorded from October 2010 to April 2014. Each panda had dental abnormalities of varying severity. Dental wear and fracture were the most common conditions. Absent teeth were common, with premolars missing most often. Mild caries were present in five molar teeth between two animals. Different degrees of dental plaque and calculus occurred in all animals but without severe periodontal disease. Two animals with severe dental abnormalities died due to intestinal problems. Large segments of bamboo were found in their intestinal tracts, and intestinal perforation and ulcers were evident, indicating dental abnormalities can be an important factor in the health of wild giant pandas and may lead to death. Further research with larger sample sizes of wild and captive giant pandas will be required to substantiate the relationship between dental abnormalities and mortality in giant pandas.
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Vol. 51 • No. 4