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Fractures of Upper Jaw and Lower Jaw in Dogs

Maxillary and Mandibular Fractures in Dogs

Fractures of the maxilla, which comprises the upper jaw and supports the upper teeth, and the mandible, also known as the jawbone and housing the lower teeth, are frequently observed in dogs as a result of accidents or trauma.

Symptoms and Types

Symptoms can vary significantly depending on the type, location, severity, and cause of the injury. Among the more typical signs are:

  • Facial disfigurement
  • Bleeding from the mouth or nose
  • Difficulty in opening or closing the jaw
  • Broken teeth
  • Facial misalignment

Causes

While fractures of the upper and lower jaw usually result from different types of injuries and trauma, certain factors can increase a dog’s susceptibility to such fractures. These include oral infections like periodontal disease and osteomyelitis, specific metabolic conditions such as hypoparathyroidism, and congenital or hereditary issues leading to a weakened or malformed jaw.

Diagnosis

To diagnose the condition, your veterinarian will initially gather a detailed history of your dog’s health, including any previous injuries or traumas. A comprehensive physical examination will follow, focusing on assessing the oral cavity, jaw bones, teeth, and associated structures. X-rays of the oral cavity will be conducted to precisely locate and evaluate the extent of the fracture.

Treatment

The primary treatment for fractures typically involves surgery. However, there are various surgical techniques available for repairing the fracture. Your veterinarian will offer their professional advice based on factors such as the type of fracture, equipment and supplies available, and the advantages and disadvantages of each option. The primary objective of surgical intervention is to realign the fracture, restore the natural alignment of bones and teeth, and stabilize the fracture to promote healing. Pain relief medications and antibiotics are also prescribed to manage pain and prevent infections, respectively.

Living and Management

The overall prognosis depends on the type, extent, and location of the trauma, as well as the quality of home care and the chosen treatment approach. Typically, healing takes between 4 to 12 weeks, necessitating diligent owner compliance during the treatment period to facilitate recovery.

Wax is commonly prescribed to alleviate irritation caused by surgical wires. Oral irrigants aid in oral hygiene and reduce oral cavity bacteria. Following surgery, your dog will experience discomfort and require painkillers for several days. Effective pain management is crucial for the healing process, involving administering painkillers as directed.

A follow-up evaluation, including X-rays, will occur after two weeks to assess fracture stabilization and healing progress. There’s a risk of refracture after removing support, necessitating extra precautions to prevent recurrence. Encourage good cage rest and minimize trauma risks. Keep other pets away and maintain a quiet environment.

Due to oral cavity involvement, eating and chewing may be painful and challenging. Adhere to the recommended nutritional and fluid intake, closely monitoring your dog’s weight. Soft food is advised for easier chewing and ingestion.

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