Veterinary Dental Services & Oral Surgery

Golden Retriever

Jaw Surgery in Dogs & Cats

The two most common jaw surgeries performed on dogs and cats by board certified veterinary dentists are fracture repair and oral tumor / cancer surgery.

Pet jaw fractures result from either traumatic injury or a combination of periodontal disease followed by a traumatic injury. Periodontal disease can cause thin, weak jaw bones that fracture from very little stress or self-trauma (biting an object). The veterinary dental specialist recognizes the need to diagnose and treat dental disease as well as jaw fractures resulting from periodontal disease. Jaw fractures are often repaired employing oral surgical procedures to expose the fracture and stabilize it with orthopedic wire, orthopedic pins, screws and plates. Bone implant or bone augmentation procedures can be employed by the veterinary dentist to aid fracture healing when necessary. Dental specialists are trained to employ oral splinting techniques to treat jaw fractures, save teeth and avoid further injury to teeth when treating jaw fractures.

Pet oral tumors that affect the jawbones often require surgery to excise or remove diseased bone associated with the tumor. For non-aggressive tumors / cancers partial bone removal and preservation of the jaws can often be achieved. Aggressive cancer requires removal of large amounts of the jawbone. While it is difficult for some pet owners to make a decision to remove part of their pet’s jaw it can be very rewarding when they see the outcome or result. Just as pets can survive and function without a limb, they can eat, remain active and live pain free after having a large portion of the jaw structure removed.

In order to determine the type of tumor or cancer, a biopsy and histopathological study by a qualified pathologist is be performed prior to surgery. In addition to veterinary radiographs (x-ray), biopsy helps determine an accurate diagnosis. Veterinary oncologists are often consulted to provide the best treatment plan and prognosis.

If your pet requires jaw surgery due to fracture or oral tumor, they will receive a thorough evaluation including veterinary radiographs allowing us to create an individualized treatment plan for your pet.