A sudden and profoundly debilitating problem. The cause is usually trauma, for example a blow to the face or road traffic accident. Jaw fractures can also occur secondary to another disease process already affecting the jaw. For example advanced periodontal disease, dentigerous cysts, kidney failure or tumours of the jaw bone.
Fractures can affect any part of the upper or lower jaw. These animals could have other severe injuries that need atending to as a priority.
Often the actual trauma has not been witnessed but the animal shows signs of blood from the mouth, inability to close the mouth or excessive salivation. If you suspect a jaw fracture contact your vet immediately. Your vet will need to confirm the diagnosis by taking an x-ray.
The jaw needs to be stabilised and there are various methods used to achieve this goal. Some cases require a simple muzzle through to involved surgical procedures. The most important consideration with jaw fracture is to achieve normal closure of the mouth following repair.
Intra-oral splints (re-inforced jaw wiring) allow the animal to return to a normal routine quicker and at the same time reduce the risk of damage to teeth during repair
If there is an underlying problem, early diagnosis and treatment of that condition is required. Dogs, especially toy breeds, with advanced tooth and gum disease are at high risk.