Ryder Australian Shepherd

Cow-Kick to the Face Results in Severely Fractured Jaw

Ryder Australian Shepherd


Ryder, a seven year old Australian Shepherd, had the unfortunate accident of being kicked in the face by a cow.

Upon evaluation at Arizona Veterinary Dental Specialists, it was determined that he had extensive trauma to his upper jaw, palate and teeth. Injuries included a maxillary fracture of the palatal bone (roof of mouth), soft tissue lacerations and several complicated crown fractures on his teeth.

The severity of these injuries could have permanently debilitated or even ended Ryder’s life. But, under the care of the Board Certified Veterinary Dental Specialists at Arizona Veterinary Dental Specialists, Ryder’s complex injuries were treatable.

The first, and most vital part, of Ryder’s evaluation was to have a full set of digital veterinary dental radiographs, which enable the veterinary dentist to have a complete picture of the extent of injury to Ryder’s mouth and jaw. After radiographs, the appropriate treatment plan can be implemented. The soft tissue injuries were debrided and his nasal passage washed so it was free of debris and infection. After suturing of the soft tissue, the maxilla (upper jaw) was stabilized with an interdental composite and wire splint. Ryder’s splint will be left on for approximately two months at which point he’ll return to Arizona Veterinary Dental Specialists for radiographs to confirm appropriate healing of the maxillary fracture.

Planning for your puppy’s dental health

Dental Care for Puppies - Veterinary DentistryAre you bringing a new puppy home? There’s nothing quite like the first time you and your family hold your new puppy! They are so soft, cuddly and they have that sweet smelling puppy breath when they give you those kisses.

While they don’t stay puppies for long, and the puppy breath eventually fades, there’s still a great deal you can do to help your puppy keep a clean and health mouth into adulthood.

First, you have to commit to maintaining your puppy’s dental health over the long term. This means being prepared for an annual visit to your veterinarian for a complete pet dental cleaning and oral health exam. Anesthesia free pet dental cleanings are NOT of any benefit to your dog and may cause further damage and periodontal disease in the long term, which in addition to being costly to treat, causes your dog a great deal of pain. Your dog has teeth just like you, so a regular visit to the dog dentist is as important as it is for it’s owners.

Second, you can implement regular home dental care for your puppy right away. Brushing your puppy’s teeth with a pet safe dental product is one of the best things you can do to help prevent plaque build up on their teeth. If you begin a puppy teeth brushing routine right away, not only will you be promoting their dental health, but you’ll get them used to their mouth being touched and examined so when they visit the vet dentist, they won’t be as afraid or anxious.

Third, there are a number of veterinary dental products that can assist in promoting good dental health for your puppy. As board certified veterinary dentists, we encourage the use of Veterinary Oral Health Council approved products. VOHC products include chews, water additives and dental diets that are proven to reduce plaque build up on a dogs teeth. Keep in mind that when you choose a chew toy or product for your puppy or even an adult dog, it should be bendable so they don’t break teeth. If you can’t bend it, they could easily fracture a tooth while chewing.

Promoting good puppy dental health through regular pet dental checkups at the veterinarian and providing regular care at home is the best way to keep your new puppy’s mouth clean and healthy. If you see something abnormal in your puppy’s mouth or are concerned about a more serious dental problem, it is a good idea to contact a board certified veterinary dentist who specializes in pet dental care and can offer the best treatment plan.


Vet Dental Update – 8/15/2012

Effect of veterinarian-client-patient interactions on client adherence to dentistry and surgery recommendations in companion-animal practice.
Kanji N, Coe JB, Adams CL, Shaw JR. JAVMA. 240(4):427-36, 2012.
Abstract: This study examined client/veterinarian interactions, looking specifically at the language used when recommending dental or surgical treatment and how this effected whether or not the recommended treatment was eventually provided to the patient. The participating veterinarians were videotaped during 83 interactions with their clients, and their treatment recommendations were graded as being either clear or ambiguous. Patient records were examined six months later to see if the patient had received the recommended procedure. When a recommendation was made in a “clear” fashion, the patient was seven times more likely to have received the recommended procedure. Additionally, the clients who pursued treatment for their pet were much more satisfied with the process than those who did not. Practitioners should strive to use clear statements such as “your pet needs a dental cleaning and dental x-rays” rather than an ambiguous statement like “You might want to consider a dental cleaning for your pet”.

Effectiveness of a Vegetable Chew on Periodontal Disease Parameters in Toy Breed Dogs
Clarke DE, Kelman M, Perkins N. J Vet Dent. 28(4): 230-235, 2011
Abstract: Plaque control is an important part to maintaining proper oral health. Many clients are not able to properly brush the teeth of Toy breed dogs. This study demonstrated the effectiveness of a vegetable based chew in reducing gingivitis, plaque, and calculus. The study was a 70-day crossover study with controls. Although daily brushing and regular professional cleanings are still the gold standard in toy breeds, this study provides another method of improving oral health in pets.

Bonded sealants for uncomplicated crown fractures.
Theuns P, Niemiec BA. J Vet Dent.28(2):130-2, 2011.
Fractured teeth are a very common occurrence in dogs. When the root canal is directly exposed, root canal therapy or extraction is necessary. Uncomplicated crown fractures are defined as tooth fractures which expose the dentin, but not the pulp (root canal/nerve). This creates sensitivity as well as allows a route for bacterial entry into the tooth, possibly causing abscessation. A bonded sealant is a simple procedure to treat this common condition and relieve sensitivity. This article details the indications (and contraindications), materials and techniques for this procedure. This is a must for every general practitioner.

Amlodipine-induced gingival hyperplasia in a Great Dane.
Pariser MS, Berdoulay P. JAAHA. 47(5):375-6, 2011
Abstract: Gingival enlargement or gingival overgrowth (also known as gingival hyperplasia) is a condition where the gingiva grows excessively. Gingival enlargement can create pseudopockets where plaque can accumulate, possibly resulting in periodontal disease. Frequently this condition is diagnosed as idiopathic where no underlying cause can be found. The boxer breed one of the more common breeds affected. Typically the condition is treated by gingivectomy and gingival recontouring as needed. However, there can be underlying causes that can create gingival enlargement. In this case, a 3 year old spayed female Great Dane developed gingival enlargement after treatment of systemic hypertension was treated with amlodipine. Hydralazine replaced amlodipine for treatment of hypertension and the gingival enlargement was mostly resolved in 9 months. Other drugs that have been implicated in gingival enlargement are cyclosporine and some anti-convulsants. Therefore, after diagnosis of gingival enlargement, a careful history should be taken to determine if a medication may be the cause of the condition.