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Jacob’s Fractured Jaw, Broke Our Hearts

Happiness is watching a 15-year-old Yorkie discover the art of 'puppy play bows' only minutes later to collapse in agony from a fractured jaw. Fractures commonly occur in the face (maxilla) or lower jaw (mandible) bones. The most common cause of jaw fractures in senior dogs is periodontal disease.

A broken jaw from periodontal disease typically results from severe bone loss surrounding the teeth, usually the molars. Bone loss can weaken the jaw (mandible) to the point where it can fracture from regular play or biting down on kibble.

Caregiving: Recovery After Surgical Jaw Fracture Repair

Senior dogs may take longer to heal, particularly those with periodontal disease.

  • Soft food diet is required.

  • Playing with toys during recovery is forbidden.

  • Twice daily, hand brushing splints remove food debris.

  • Twice daily, antiseptic mouth rinsing.

  • Wearing an Elizabethan Collar or muzzle prevents accidental self-trauma or loosening of a splint or plate.

  • A radiograph occurs 4-6 weeks later, depending on the fracture’s severity and the patient’s age.

The nature of life is that ‘accidents will happen, but periodontal disease is not an accident. Periodontal disease is one of the most common diseases affecting dogs, with a reported prevalence of at least 80% in dogs over three years of age.

What are the four stages of periodontal disease in dogs?

Stage 1: Tartar begins building up, and gums begin to redden.

Stage 2: Gums continue to be swollen, and bone loss begins to develop.

Stage 3: Bone loss continues to occur.

Stage 4: Severe bone loss is not reversible and can lead to loss of teeth, inability to eat food without pureeing, infections, and fractured jaws. [Lil' Birdie Video: Severe Stage IV. The bottom jaw is wholly gone, forcing him to lap nutrition].

At the Ranch sanctuary, ninety percent of residents arrive with early-stage-four periodontal disease. All have lived with oral pain for years, and all are treated to the tune of spending $117,000 on dental care in 2021.

Suffering is not welcomed at Living Grace Canine Ranch. Our mission is to save, serve, and value the lives of Texas senior dogs. Medical research estimates that a dog’s life may be shortened by up two years if periodontal disease is untreated. For senior dogs, life is short enough, and when they live at the ranch, residents yearn for more joy, not less. [Sweet Pea's Stage IV Periodontal Disease erupts through her cheek due to abscessed teeth, bone, and sinus infections].

Periodontal disease is dangerous for pets. Please consult your vet about dental cleaning to prevent excruciating oral pain and disease.

Strut Your Mutt for Senior Smiles

Partnering with Best Friends, we are stepping up and out to raise $7,422 for the purchase of dental cleaning equipment at the ranch wellness clinic. By saving thousands of dollars in veterinarian fees, that money can save, serve, and value the lives of more Texas senior dogs.

We invite you to step forward to help this October.


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