Oral Surgery in Dogs

By Jan Bellows, DVM, Dipl. AVDC, ABVP

Dental

September 24, 2014

Why does my dog need oral surgery?

Dogs need oral surgery to remove growths, repair oral defects, and fix jaw fractures. oral-sugery-dogs3

No one knows what causes tumors to form in dog’s mouths. If they are caught early, complete removal can be curative. Some growths require small incisions to remove, while for others, part of the jaw is removed. When the growth is malignant further therapy is usually required.

Jaw fractures from trauma or advanced disease also often require oral surgery to return the dog to a pain-free happy life.

Does the surgery need to be done by an oral surgeon?

There are board certified veterinary dentists (avdc.org) that are specially trained in oral surgical procedures, as well as veterinary surgeons (acvs.org).  Your veterinarian will let you know if he or she is comfortable handling your dog’s problem. If not, referral to a nearby board certified veterinary dentist or surgeon will be discussed.

Is oral surgery safe for my dog?

oral-surgery-dogs_fiAnesthesia is necessary for oral surgery. This allows the surgeon to remove the oral mass or repair the fractured jaw while the dog is immobilized and out of pain. Before anesthesia is delivered tests are performed to determine the best type of anesthesia for the patient and procedure. The dog also will be closely monitored during and after the procedure.

Will my dog be in pain?

Both local and general anesthesia will be used to decrease discomfort. The same narcotic medications used in people are given to dogs. Anti-inflammatory medication is also administered to decrease swelling and inflammation after surgery.

How will my dog eat after surgery?

Thanks to pain relief medications most dogs do not even know they had surgery. Most dogs will eat the day of surgery or soon after. Feeding soft food is recommended.

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