Cali’s Broken Jaw

Cali has been officially retired from protection sports, due to an accident at a protection competition Sept 10, 2005. During the competition we were doing a Sch long bite (face attack). Cali ran down and slammed into the helper at full speed.  I am not sure if the initial injury was from this impact, or from the style of "catch" employed.  During the "swing" Cali slipped off the sleeve, hit the ground, then immediately reattacked and bit again. When I outed and recalled her, the judge hollered "she fanged herself" meaning she put a canine into her lip on the bite. Unfortunately that's not what happened. When she got back to me I checked her to pull her lip off her tooth, and realized there was a funny feeling lump where her tooth should be, and a lot of blood. Got her up into the light and discovered she had torn the entire tooth, root and all, out of the socket and it was hanging there by some gum tissue, parallel to the jawbone. A friend of mine is a dentist and she tried to put the tooth back in, but was unable to, so we rushed her to a nearby emergency clinic.

Cali ended up loosing the canine tooth. The vet at the emergency clinic was not comfortable trying to reseat the tooth, and it's impossible to find a dental specialist at 11PM on a Saturday night. Turns out even if they had wanted to reseat the tooth and see if it would reattach it wouldn't have been possible, becase she shattered the jaw bone that is around the socket. It wasn't until she was in surgery that we discovered the damage to the jaw bone. Without a solid socket, the tooth wouldn't have "reattached" anyway. They removed the broken pieces of bone, removed the tooth, and stitched her back up. I picked her up the next morning, still pretty groggy, and brought her home.

Although Cali will make a full recovery as far as healing, she is now missing a large portion of the bone/tooth that makes up the front portion of her upper jaw.  So there will be no more competition bitework for Cali, ever. It's not worth the risk putting that much stress on her jaw bone or the remaining 3 teeth, chances are one or more of them could break, or she might break the entire jaw bone. And I can't control what a decoy will do in a trial setting, how he will catch her, absorbe the impact, "swing" her, etc. I've always said she had nice strong teeth, and unfortunatley I was right. If her teeth would have been a little weaker, the canine would have snapped instead of taking the entire root out with it.  She will continue to be able to herd and enjoy other activities such as obed, flyball, etc.

The first picture is Cali's mouth about 5 days after the tooth and shattered bone were removed, and the gums were stitched up. 

The next picture is the entire tooth, not only the visible part of the canine but the root also.  The battery is in the photo to show relative size, but also to indicate which part is visible and which isn't (the gold bar on the battery).  The white arrow also points to the "line" between visible tooth and root, 2/3 of the tooth is actually the root.

The last photo is of a dogs skull.  I have outlined on the photo the part of the jaw that makes up the socket the tooth sits in.  You can see the shading on the skull also from the "lump" caused by the root of the canine tooth.  The outter wall of the socket was shattered when Cali's tooth came out, and all the bone fragments had to be removed so they could close up the wound.  She is missing a large portion of her upper jaw now, permanently weakening the jaw. 


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