So, something quite unfortunate happened: Yuki is toothless! She had a little accident and ended up having to get a couple teeth extracted.
We want to share our experience with you. More importantly, we want to warn you of what could happen if you give your dog rigid chews - like antlers or bones. We learned our lesson the hard way but I hope our experience can serve as a warning to everyone who reads this!
One day while brushing Yuki's teeth, I noticed that there was a slab on one of her molars that looked similar to to this:
After doing some research, it seemed like Yuki had a slab fracture on her right premolar! It went unnoticed when it happened because she never showed any signs of discomfort or pain. I suspect it happened while she was chewing on a deer antler, and so we immediately threw away all antlers and other rigid chews. Then I found a few veterinary dentistry specialists to figure out our options for treatment, and get multiple opinions.
The dentist confirmed that Yuki fractured her right maxillary fourth premolar, otherwise known as the right maxillary carnassial. She recommended extraction due to the fracture extending under the gum-line.
During the exam, the dentist also noticed that Yuki's left maxillary fourth premolar was also fractured. While it wasn't as severe as her right side, it was still a fracture with pulp exposure.
The dentist explained that dental pulp, when exposed, is no longer protected by the hard tooth material so it dies within 12-48 hours. Root Canal Therapy may be possible, but she warned that it is less likely to be doable/successful in a very small dog due to the size of her teeth. Also, there will be a likelihood of developing periodontal disease in the future so we'd need annual x-rays of the root canal-ed tooth. After doing a thorough assessment, we decided on extraction due to the high possibility of failure and likelihood of infection.
The dentist also noticed that Yuki is actually missing her mandibular first premolars! She wasn't sure if she just never grew them, or if they were hidden under the gums. But we decided to wait until the surgery date to get x-rays and check.
Yuki got no food after 10pm the night before because she will be going under general anesthesia. We went in bright and early at 7:30am to get her pre-op exam, CBC blood test, and x-rays to evaluate the teeth, and then dropped her off for the extractions. On the x-rays, the dentist saw that Yuki's mandibular first premolars were uninterrupted, and suggested an invasive surgical extraction to remove them to prevent future inflammation since she will already be under anesthesia.
Yuki got 4 teeth extracted:
- right maxillary fourth premolar #108
- left maxillary fourth premolar #208
- right mandibular first premolar #305
- left mandibular first premolar #405
We picked Yuki up at 5pm because they wanted to hospitalize her for the day to observe. She was still super groggy from the anesthesia when we took her home.
She's going to be on some meds (pain and anti-inflammatory) for a few days to help her heal. And will be eating soft foods for the next two weeks!
If you want a soft food recommendation, the girls really like Weruva's Paw Lickin' Chicken cans (not sponsored but we're totally open to it, hmu). I like it cause it looks like real food, instead of most cans that are unidentifiable mush. The vet tech also said you can just add water to kibble to soften it up!
Yuki mostly slept all night, and woke up with swollen little chipmunk cheeks. She ate all her breakfast and even perked up to play a little! She's going to be put on bedrest for a few days but I'm sure she'll heal up nicely.
The total cost of the procedure was $2038.42 - including the blood test, x-rays, extractions, general anesthesia, and medications. I called around and did multiple initial consultations to find the best doctor and hospital for Yuki. But also stayed conscious of the price differences. Most estimates provided were in the $2500-3500 range, so it was such a pleasant surprise when the bill came out lower than expected. I am so glad we chose to proceed with Dr. Claire Blumstein at Mission Pet Hospital. She was extremely attentive throughout the entire process, called us with updates every few hours, and checked up to make sure Yuki was healing alright the day after. I would definitely recommend them if you're in SF!