Meet Buddy. He was buzzing around as usual, but this time he took an unusual path into the road in front of the house. Unfortunately, a pickup truck came by, hit him and didn’t stop. The driver shouted “I’m sorry” out the window as he drove off.
Bloody and shaken, Buddy was scooped up by his owners and rushed in to see us. He was shocky and had a mouth full of blood. We placed him in oxygen and treated him with fluids and pain medication to get him stabilized.
The blood in his mouth was from a fractured jaw; the bone had torn up through his gum line. He also was limping on his front right leg from damage to a ligament on the side of his wrist.
When pets get hit by a vehicle, they can get serious internal injuries, so we took x-rays of to look for evidence of internal bruising, bleeding or a ruptured lung. We fortunately didn’t uncover any of those issues. We also performed an ultrasound of his abdomen to help rule out internal bleeding or a ruptured bladder.
Here is one of the x-rays we took. If you look closely at his jaw, you can see a fracture near the front of his mouth just behind his big lower canine tooth. What is difficult to appreciate is that he had a second fracture in that same jaw bone a couple of inches back that also needed attention.
When Buddy was stable enough for anesthesia, Dr. Lockwood and I put him under to repair his jaw. In this x-ray, you can see the anesthesia gas tube running through his mouth and down his windpipe. We removed a few teeth that were compromised by the fractures, drilled holes in his jaw, and placed three wires to stabilize the fracture sites so they could heal. As you can see near the upper right aspect of this x-ray, we also placed a feeding tube running into his neck and down his esophagus. (The orange feeding tube can also be seen on the side of his neck in the color photo above.) Because fractures need to be kept immobilized to allow healing, and since we wanted to avoid wiring his jaw shut for 5 weeks, we taught the owners how to feed Buddy through the feeding tube using a pureed, high calorie, prescription dog food. He was allowed to drink water on his own, but all treats and toys were strictly off limits while he healed.
Buddy did remarkably well and returned to have his feeding tube and wires removed. His wrist, which we splinted to allow it to heal, recovered nicely, and Buddy is back to racing around and using his mouth like all dogs know how! Word has it he is also double checking both ways before heading into the street 😉
Great job, Buddy!!!