Last fall while hunting with my DD Lex vom Moorehaus, a journey into an experience I’ve not yet had too deal with began. We were hunting a small field when a Quail was pointed. As usual, I approached, flushed and shot. Lex broke at the shot this time, as we are still working on tuning things.
As soon as he picked up the bird he spit it out. I was shocked as he is very reliable in his retrieving. After commanding fetch he again picked up the quail and started to return, clearly shaken. Halfway back he again spit it out and began licking his lips. At this point I knew something was wrong. On his own he picked up the Quail again and finished his retrieve.
After releasing the bird, I quickly inspected his mouth to find he had broken both his fangs on the right side, top and bottom. Both were bleeding and broke down into the pulp. To this day, we still are not sure what the cause was. We found no rocks etc.
Instantly, my concern was the affects this would have on his utility. Researching the topic was not that easy. Chipped teeth are common and I spoke with several people whose dogs have chipped teeth. I suspect, after talking to some people that chips are probably not dealt with properly either and will lead to future problems that might even be worse than what I was going to need to deal with. I did not find many people that had dealt with broken fangs that were almost gone. In fact, I found no one.
Dental work for dogs is a specialty and I was surprised to find some vets that actually recommended extractions. I am not a dentist, but I know how big fangs are in a K9 and I did not see how that made sense. Through a diligent search, I was able to find a few short articles on root canals. Root canals in K9′s are not unheard of and eventually, I found a few people who had seen them done on working breeds that resulted in great success. After more research and a consultation, I decided on getting Dr. John Mize to do the work. Dr. Mize specializes in several different types of specialties but was the most knowledgeable and offered the strongest recommendation keeping in mind the importance of teeth to an active versatile dog.
The procedure was completed without and complications and within weeks Lex was back to retrieving within two weeks. The bottom fang is understandably shorter. It was so badly broken; there was not a lot to build up from. Eventually, over time they will chip as normal teeth but building it up to a long point is really not practical. Because the bottom fang is shorter, there is a noticeable affect on Lex’s manner of retrieve when working with vinyl dummies, as they get wet. With game there is no noticeable affect.
A few weeks ago I noticed the cap had come off the bottom fang. Lex had not been working and we have no idea how it happened. Dr. Mize confirmed that it was only cosmetic and the root canal was fine. However, because he understood the importance of the Lex’s utility he offered to repair it.
I could not have asked for a better result. If you are in the South East or are willing t fly your dog in for specialty work, I would strongly recommend Dr. Mize. If your working or versatile dog damages their teeth badly, I strongly recommend taking the proper steps to have it repaired properly. I also recommend seeing a specialist that has done the work before and understand the task expected of your dog. Currently, Dr. Mize owns two practices that offer a variety of medicine more information on his practice and how to contact them can be found at http://www.animal-dr.com