Treating Previously Unsuccessful Cat Jaw Fracture Repair

Minnie the Cat

Minnie came to us after having had surgical care for injuries she previously sustained in a coyote attack.  She was originally treated at an outside surgical practice where the mandible (lower jaw) was fixed with a bone plate. Unfortunately, the occlusion (alignment) was off and which was causing pain and she would not eat. Another practitioner then extracted most of her teeth to alleviate the trauma and hopefully result in cessation of the clinical signs.  Sadly, both of these significantly invasive surgeries did not resolve the issue and she was still not eating.

She then came to Southern California Veterinary Dental Specialties and Oral Surgery for specialty veterinary dental care. Here, she was placed under general anesthesia and dental radiographs were performed to evaluate the entire area.  This confirmed that the jaw was out of alignment.In addition, several screws were extending through the tooth roots.

Intraoral dental images of the right mandible showing the malalignment of the bone pieces.

Intraoral dental images of the right mandible showing the malalignment of the bone pieces. In addition, bone was exposed through the fracture site.

The plate was removed and the damaged teeth in the area extracted.

Intraopeative, Intraoral image of the large bone plate on the small jaw of the cat.

Intraopeative, Intraoral image of the large bone plate on the small jaw of the cat.

The fracture was reduced and fixed with a single interfragmentary wire.

Post-operative dental radiograph of the excellent reduction and fixation of the mandible.

Post-operative dental radiograph of the excellent reduction and fixation of the mandible.

The occlusion was almost perfect.  However, because the maxillary canine on that side was extracted, there was still lip catching from the lower canine.  However, we did not want to create trauma to the area via an extraction.  Therefore, the tooth was treated with crown reduction and root canal therapy.

Post-operative dental radiograph of the root canal.

Post-operative dental radiograph of the root canal.

She was back to eating well within a day of surgery and recovered very well.  Two months later, she was presented for recheck under general anesthesia.  This confirmed that the jaw had healed very well.

8 week recheck of the patient confirming excellent healing of the mandible.

8 week recheck of the patient confirming excellent healing of the mandible.

This case represents the value of minimally invasive surgical techniques when dealing with feline oral fractures.  Only board certified veterinary dentists have the skills to fix these issues the first time and with minimal trauma to the patient.