When the vet says "I've never seen that before!"

On Tuesday, Vito went in for his dental surgery. He's always had an underbite but it of course got worse and worse as he aged. It became crooked and just ridiculous. Luckily you can't really tell he has one unless his mouth is open so I left it alone until his last checkup. That is when our vet saw that the left canine was intruding on his upper gums (or something like that, I have no medical knowledge what so ever) and brought in his partner to take a closer look (who just happens to be one of the best dental surgeons in the country). She thought Vito was likely in a bit of pain and highly recommended either doggy braces or surgery. I went with surgery, removing the left canine, since as well as taking less time and actually costing less, I didn't want to subject our puppy to the ridicule of his peers. Plus I really don't care what his mouth looks like :)

So the big day came. I was very worried, but more about Vito's anxiety then the surgery itself. But the amazing staff assured me that they would give him some anti-anxiety drugs and just let him hang out with everybody in the back so he wouldn't have to be in a kennel. During my several checkups over the very long day I was told that he was pacing around the room a bit, but not whining at all and was happy to be loved on by everybody. So yay :)

When I come back to take over cuddling duties as little Vito begins to come out of anestesia, I am told that the surgery ended up being quite a bit more complicated then it was supposed to. The vet told me that Vito's tooth was really messed up and was "something she's never seen before!" yay. Apparently the root of Vito's canine was split, which meant that his nerve was no where near where it was supposed to be and should have been causing him a ton of pain. The nerve was actually in the canal which is very rare and our vet had never seen that. She's seen the nerve be too close to the canal, but not in it. And to top it off, the root was also very close to 2 other teeth and there was no way to remove this bad tooth without interfering with them. So Vito had 3 teeth pulled. And the canine (or all?) had to be chopped out in bits and pieces or risk destroying the nerve. I don't have a scanner, but here is my excellent depiction of the teeth

The vet said that the surgery was very invasive and wanted to keep Vito overnight to give him some monitoring and then extra pain meds in the morning. I was saddened, but she insisted that Vito was not in good enough shape to go home. This equaled mommy having big separation anxiety over Vito's first night away in a strange place and worries over his mouth. We finally got Vito back home Wednesday evening with very strict instructions and lots of meds. They want Vito to be wearing a basket muzzle anytime he can't be 100% supervised, no toys, no balls, no bones, no playing with doggies/cats/ferrets, and no hard food for 30 days. Wow. With my pleas that Vito loves tugging more then he loves food, the vet said that if I can make it at least 2 weeks she might lift some restrictions. It'll mean that Vito will have a bad scar, but it's inside his mouth so who cares!

It's going to be a long 2 weeks. Today is the first day that Vito is really awake, and man is he depressed! This dog needs to be heavily exercised and without doggy daycare or the ability to toss a ball I'm screwed!

On a cute note: Vito spotted a piece of food on the floor during our family Thanksgiving and I just caught him with his face down hovering directly over the piece of food, just staring. The little guy was unable to eat his discovery with the muzzle on and looked like he was thinking very hard of a good way to try!

I just have to say that I am SO glad Vito has pet insurance. Dogs are expensive! And on a hopeful note, the vet also thinks that Vito's anxiety might lessen. Since the split root was causing Vito a ton of pain, there's good reason to believe that it may have contributed to his separation anxiety!

Mango  – ( November 27, 2009 at 7:00 AM )  

Oh man, Vito, what is up with your toofers? PeeWee has an underbite too and his baby teeth were hitting the top of his mouth and had to be pulled out, but so far his big dog teeth are OK.

That picture was very helpful in explaining things (hehehe).

Poor mom! It is going to be a long two weeks and that muzzle action must be kind of annoying. Get well soon.


achieve1dream  – ( November 27, 2009 at 7:22 AM )  

Poor Vito!!! I hope you don't end up in dentures. I'm glad they found the source of his pain and were able to fix it. I know recovery is long and painful, but imagine if he went years without finding the problem?? He's lucky. Did the vet say he could go on walks or run? I'll be thinking about the poor guy.

Kristi W.  – ( November 29, 2009 at 9:54 PM )  

Oh no! I hope he has a speedy recovery. We should consider pet insurance. It seems like a smart choice, especially in these situations.

Ninso  – ( November 30, 2009 at 12:45 PM )  

Poor Vito! Feel better soon little guy! I've heard the "we've never seen that before." When I first brough Lok home, three different vets couldn't tell me whether or not he was neutered!!

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