How will Casey recover after being bitten on the head by a dog?

Casey, an 18 month old Burmese Cat arrived at our hospital one Friday afternoon after escaping from his home and being bitten on the head by a dog. He had bruising around the top of his head as well as generalised inflammation to his head and face. Our exam found a separated symphysis of his lower jaw – which is a common injury after a rotational force has been applied to the head and jaw. X-rays revealed no other damage to his head, jaw or facial structures. He was placed on IV fluids, and we gave him long-acting antibiotics, NSAID an anti-inflammatory injection, an opioid (buprenorphine) injection and we applied an opioid (fentanyl) patch to his foreleg. He was breathing evenly and appeared to have suffered no chest or abdominal injuries. He spent the night in our hospital.

Casey was much brighter and happier on Saturday morning. We anaesthetised him with O2/Isoflurane by mask, intubated, and then placed him onto O2/Isoflurane gas maintenance.

20-inch needles were placed through the skin on either side of his lower canines to act as a guide for the wires.

Wire was then placed around the teeth to hold the lower jaw symphysis together and allow the healing to occur. The wire was tied beneath his jaw after removing the needle wire guides. Though the wire is usually left outside the skin, we prefer to bury the wire beneath the skin during the healing period – this ensures the wire doesn’t get caught on bedding or other material. We remove the wire after six to eight weeks.

The result after the wire is tied and buried beneath lower jaw skin.

The normal alignment of lower jaw post wire placement

After surgery, recovering in hospital

This procedure is quick, effective and easy to perform. A stay in hospital, fluid therapy, anaesthetic, surgery and medication only cost Casey’s owners $710! Quality veterinarian care doesn’t have to be expensive and we try hard to keep our costs within reach for more people. If Casey were treated at an emergency centre and then referred to a specialist centre, his owners would have been faced with a bill of $3,000 - $4,000 or more! While his care would have been fantastic (as it was here), these costs are often incredibly onerous for the pet owner. We regularly treat pets from across the country, as owners continue to look for an alternative to very expensive quotes.

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