A big hello to little Rosie who is our October Pet of the Month! Rosie was less than 10 weeks old and was enjoying a good play-fight with her friend at home when she suddenly yelped and became very withdrawn. When we saw her at 387 Vets, her tongue was hanging out, she was painful when examined around her jaw and we could feel some abnormal bone movement. We immediately took her in, sedated her and x-rayed her jaw. To our shock we discovered that she had fractured the ‘angle’ (where the jawbone changes direction) of her mandible (jawbone) on both sides, resulting in a dangerously unstable mouth.
Selenia, one of our vets, is amongst the first 20 vets in the country to study for the post-graduate certificate in veterinary dentistry and had recently been to a course about fixing jaw fractures. She chose to fix this injury with a beautifully simple technique of wiring the upper jaw to the lower jaw (using suture material and buttons) on both sides to keep the jaw held in the correct position whilst it heals. The technique relies on retaining the lower molar teeth inside the upper teeth (the normal alignment of a dog’s mouth) to prevent the jaw from moving sideways. It is essential to know how much to allow the jaw to open so that the dog can still eat, but that the jaw is held fast. She also placed an oesophageal feeding tube in case Rosie struggled to eat post-op but this was removed after a few days because Rosie was doing so well.
Rosie tolerated everything brilliantly. After 4 weeks we removed the fixation so she could fully open her jaw again. Repeat x-rays showed the bones had healed well and once again Rosie can fully open her mouth and give a great big puppy yawn!