Dogs may experience significant pain and fear when they suffer a jawbone break. At Sango Veterinary Hospital, our vets are ready to guide you through understanding the causes of this injury, the treatment options, and how to care for your furry friend afterward.
Causes of a Broken Jaw in Dogs
Dogs may sustain a mandibular fracture, commonly known as a broken jaw, either through trauma or periodontal disease. Traumatic incidents, such as being hit by a car or engaging in a fight with another dog, can result in this injury. Additionally, periodontal disease can compromise the jawbone's strength, making it more susceptible to fractures even from routine activities like chewing on a toy or biting down on food.
If your dog undergoes vehicular trauma or is involved in a dogfight, it is crucial to have them examined for potential additional injuries. In case of a fracture, promptly take your dog to the vet or seek emergency care. Once stabilized, address the fracture promptly to ensure your dog's optimal recovery.
The Goal of Repairing a Jaw Fracture
When your dog experiences a fractured jaw, the primary objective of surgery is to enable your dog to eat and rest comfortably and swiftly. Incorrect healing of the upper or lower jaw may result in issues with the alignment of their teeth. It is essential to prevent harm to the nerves and blood vessels in the jaw. The ultimate aim is to mend the fracture and facilitate your dog's complete recovery.
Treating Jaw Fractures in Dogs
If your pet experiences a broken jaw, it may require surgery for correction. Doctors often employ metal plates, screws, and wires for this purpose. However, acrylic splints may be utilized in the case of less severe fractures. This procedure is simpler and eliminates the need for complex surgery. The primary objective is to ensure proper alignment of the teeth.
After the placement of the splint, your pet should refrain from chewing on hard objects for a few weeks. Additionally, soft food is recommended until the vet approves a switch back to hard food. Once the fracture heals, the splint can be removed. If necessary, the wire or splint may need removal through another anesthetized procedure.
The Prognosis for a Jaw Fracture Repair
Usually, surgeons can effectively repair jaw fractures, except in a few cases. Maxillary fractures typically exhibit stability and lead to favorable outcomes. On the other hand, outcomes for mandibular fractures can be more uncertain, contingent upon the cause of the injury. The prognosis is generally positive if the injury results from a minor fall. Nevertheless, smaller, older dogs with dental issues that sustain jaw fractures during surgery may experience less successful healing. The likelihood of recovery also hinges on the severity of the injury, the extent of blood supply damage, and the presence of bacterial infection.
Caring for Your Dog After Jaw Surgery
Your vet will give you instructions on caring for your dog at home after they fix the broken bone. This includes keeping your dog confined and on a leash so they don't run, play, or jump around and cause more damage. It's also a good idea to feed your dog a soft diet or food made into a paste to reduce pressure on the bone while it heals. Your dog might need a feeding tube at first, which can seem scary, but most dogs adjust quickly and tolerate it well. Your vet will give you detailed instructions on how to use and care for the feeding tube and specific feeding instructions.