Posted By: Gudi - Vet

Wells Vets Case File

Name: Jack

Age: 14

Breed: Cocker Spaniel

Likes: Enthusiastic tail wags

Dislikes: Don’t touch the face!

Jack is always a delight. His tail wags constantly when he comes in. That is until we try to check his eyes, mouth, nose – any part of his face. Jack really doesn’t like his head being touched so treating these areas has always been a challenge, particularly with his long-standing eye problems. Jack has other health concerns too but we and his owners had opted to focus on his quality of life. And it was good – until the day he came to see us with a swollen and sore nose.

We already suspected Jack had some dental disease, but had been unable to check his teeth. We worried that the swelling and nasal discharge suggested a tooth infection. Painkillers and antibiotics solved the immediate problem, but we knew this was a temporary fix. Jack really needed to undergo an anaesthetic for us to properly treat his teeth, but this was a scary intervention for his owners to consider. Nevertheless, they knew that this was necessary, and should be done sooner rather than later.

Jack’s pre-anaesthetic blood tests were generally good, but he was still considered a high-risk anaesthetic candidate because of his age and some heart function concerns. We prepared our anaesthetic plan and had our contingency emergency drugs and equipment ready. While under anaesthetic, Jack’s intravenous fluids were precisely adjusted to maintain his blood pressure without overloading his heart, and local anaesthetic dental blocks helped reduce any pain stimulation, keeping his general anaesthetic as light as possible.

We discovered Jack’s upper canine teeth were both infected and needed extracting – a tough procedure with such large, long roots. Once removed it was clear that the infection had eroded through to Jack’s nose. After thoroughly flushing we needed to suture together his gum to close the holes that were left. Jack also needed eleven other teeth extracting and his remaining teeth had a scale and polish.

Jack recovered amazingly from his anaesthetic, eating within an hour. We knew we wouldn’t be able to check his mouth was healing well, but his owners said he was like a new dog. Jack may not be happy to show us his mouth, but he certainly still seems happy with his quality of life!

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