Meet 8-year-old Fly, who visited our Dentistry Service for treatment of a rare and painful dental condition. Fly is a very loved family companion and is also a PAT (Pets As Therapy) dog. He visits schools for children to read to him.
Fly injured his mouth with a stick (just one of the ways in which sticks can be problematic for dogs!), which led to him needing a number of teeth removed last summer. A little while later, Fly’s carer began to notice he had halitosis (bad breath) and swelling under his eye, and he had also become reluctant to eat hard chews.
Fly underwent one further tooth extraction. His primary care vet noticed a problem with the way the extraction socket was healing, and so Fly was referred to our Dentistry Specialist, Simone.
An inability for an extraction socket to heal is a rare extraction complication in dogs; the problem is more common in people, and is known as ‘dry socket’.
A blood clot should form after a tooth has been extracted, which protects the bone during healing. If the blood clot becomes dislodged, the tissue cannot heal over the site and the bone is left exposed.
A CT scan confirmed osteomyelitis (bone infection) and a small abscess in Fly’s mouth. This had caused moderate muscle atrophy (the wasting away of muscle) on the left side, resulting in mild enophthalmos (displacement of the eyeball).
Based on the information gained from the physical examination and the CT scan, tissue samples were taken from abnormal tissues surrounding the unhealed extraction site for analysis.
An infection was deemed most likely, and so the tooth next to the “dry socket” had to be removed. Simone removed damaged tissue from the unhealed site, and created a flap to cover both the new and old extraction sites, to encourage healing.
At his post-operative check up, Fly’s mouth was healing very well. He is well on his way to a full recovery and a pain-free mouth.
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