Back in November, I had a long post about a procedure our internal medicine specialist was doing to open the mouth on Travis, our dog with a fused jaw from masticatory myositis. As I explained then, the purpose was to be able to intubate him for anesthesia for a lengthy dental he desperately needed. We had earlier taken Travis to see board-certified veterinary dental specialists at Veterinary Dental Services in Massachusetts. The veterinary dentist there, Dr. Diane Carle, consulted with our internal medicine specialist in Burlington, Dr. Marielle Goossens of Peak Veterinary Referral Center, and together they developed the plan for Travis.
With his mouth now open enough for the tube, I drove Travis to the veterinary dental clinic last Friday for his oral surgery. I took that photo above of Dr. Carle working on Travis. This was a major deal: He was under anesthesia for 7 hours and 40 minutes. She ended up having to extract all of his teeth except his canines and upper incisor teeth.
Many of his teeth were odd sizes and shapes; some molars in the back angled horizontally into the center of his mouth, rather than coming straight up out of the gums. Other teeth were also at weird angles. It's almost as if the masticatory myositis struck him while he was still a puppy and before his adult teeth came in; with his upper and lower jaws shut tight against each other, the adult teeth had nowhere to go when they came in, and thus angled out as they grew, looking for the path of least resistance. That's just a theory; we'll never know for sure because we don't have any history on Travis before he came to us. But it's hard to explain otherwise the appearance and random presentation of many of his teeth.
Here's another shot -- this was what it all came down to, trying to get his mouth open enough to insert that tube:
Here's an over-the-shoulder view of Dr. Carle and her vet tech Kerry, who's checking the anesthesia monitoring unit on the shelf in the background:
Along with the teeth, she removed two oral masses and sent biopsies to the lab for review. We don't have results yet.
We don't know if Travis' mouth will close up again. That will depend in part on how he responds to medication over the long-term. This is something we will be monitoring closely.
We got back late Friday night, and Travis is recovering well from the surgery. He's on pain meds and antibiotics during this period.
Here's one final shot of Dr. Carle extracting a tooth:
I joked to the dental clinic staff that we'd put all his teeth under Travis' pillow and see what the tooth fairy would bring. (Alas, nothing!)
2014 Shelter Challenge Underway
The first round of the Shelter Challenge for 2014 is underway and runs until March 30th. You can vote every day here. To search for us, type in our name, Rolling Dog Farm, and Lancaster, NH 03584. We've won thousands of dollars in the previous contests, so your daily votes do bring in serious money for our disabled animals!
Please note that I cannot help with technical or voting problems. I also do not have an "inside track" to anyone at the Shelter Challenge, and I don't know any more about the contest than anyone else does. So if you find yourself having issues, please consult their FAQ page here and their Rules page, which is a pop-up you can find linked on this page.
Thanks for your votes!