The mystery of the broken tooth . .

by Jules on April 23, 2012

Last Thursday I was walking out of the bedroom when I spotted this on the floor:

It was too big to be a cat tooth, so I decided that it had to belong to Cali :( I tried to look in her mouth but couldn’t really see anything (have you ever tried to look in your dogs mouth?). She seemed fine, but still, I started to worry.

I’m pretty sure that this is what caused the broken tooth: (she was really going to town chewing this the other night!)

Could the deer antler be responsible?

You know how it is . .if you “think” something is wrong, you start to notice that the dog is panting just a little bit more than usual, or seems a little more clingy than usual, and you make the call to the vet. Friday afternoon we took her in and we “sort of” confirmed that it was on the bottom right side. I say “sort of” because Cali did her best to keep us from actually looking in her mouth. Regardless, the vet said that we needed to remove the rest of the broken tooth.

I have a lot of angst about putting my 13 year old dog under anesthesia, but I also want to make sure that she is not in pain. The vet drew blood, gave us some pain pills, and we were off. Her tooth extraction is scheduled for this Friday.

This morning, we made a decision to stop giving her the pain pills because she was was awake all night panting. Since then she has been acting like her happy self. I still haven’t been able to actually get a good look at the broken tooth and she has been eating well, chewing on her tennis balls, and cleaning the cat bowls. We haven’t seen any signs of her being in pain.

This afternoon my hubby and I both decided that we don’t want her be put under anesthesia, so we are going to call and cancel the appointment tomorrow. I didn’t hear back from the vet today, so I’m not sure how her blood work looked, but for now, we are going to take the “wait and see” approach.

What do you think? Do you ever go with your gut instead of the advice of your vet? I want to do what is best for my dog and for some reason, I just don’t feel comfortable putting her under. :(

I'm just fine mom, I don't know what the vet is talking about!

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  • Ximena

    The antler could certainly have been the cause. When Elli used to love her antlers, I’d take them away if she got to chewing too aggressively. She always got a PB filled kong as a trade.

    I have certainly ignored my vet’s advice before — I almost always take it with a grain of salt nowadays. However, broken/missing teeth can cause infection. Even if Cali isn’t currently in pain, I’d worry that she might be in the future. If anything, the vet could at least get a good look at the broken tooth if she were anesthetized. Though… it’s tough… considering she’s 13yrs old!

    (most unhelpful comment ever. :( I really hope she continues to stay well!)

    • Jules

      I didn’t think it was unhelpful . .sounds like the same thoughts that have been running through my head!

  • Georgia Little Pea

    Based on your observation, and Cali’s age, it would seem like a reasonable conclusion. But I’m not a vet so that’s only a lay opinion :( How about getting a second (vet) opinion? If she’s not in pain, you have time.

    • Jules

      I think our time is up :( At least the vet said that her senior blood panel looked good and she doesn’t show her age in her blood work- hooray!

  • Kristine

    Yikes, poor Cali. I am sorry you have had to deal with this!

    I don’t have any advice for you either but I have loads of sympathy. I’d probably feel much the same if my dog was older and didn’t seem to be in any pain. Perhaps GLP is right an a second opinion is in order? But ultimately you know Cali best and only you can really know what is in her best interests.

    • Jules

      Thanks Kristine ;) I’m pretty sure we are going to have to have it pulled. Even if we don’t, I will worry about it constantly ;(

  • snoopy@snoopysdogblog

    Poor Cali,

    That sure was a big piece of tooth you lost buddy – my only experience is loosing my baby teeth, so that doesn’t count……

    I hope you’re feeling ok and I’m sending you lots of hugs,

    Your pal Snoopy :)

    • Jules

      Thanks Snoopy!!

  • Jodi

    I think you have to go with your gut, but keep an eye on the tooth because it can become a food trap and a place for bacteria and infection to breed.

    When Delilah was sick the holistic vet wanted x-rays to see if anything abnormal ‘popped’ out. I was concerned because I knew she had been in pain and wanted to make sure she was feeling better before we put her under anesthesia and had her hips and bones manipulated to get a good picture. I put it off and when I felt she was ready, I made the appointment.

    You are her advocate and you must do what you feel is best!

    • Jules

      Now that her breath is yucky and she won’t eat her favorite frozen strawberries, I think we are going to have to schedule the extraction :( If we have to pull it, we have to pull it, right?

  • Jill

    My little dachshund broke his tooth right down the middle once. We actually didn’t know until we were at the vet for a regular check up and he saw it and said it was infected, which probably contributed to the bad breath (we just thought our boy had bad breath!) He was put out and the tooth was pulled and now he’s fine. Granted, he was only 3 or 4 years old at the time, but it just goes to show that a dog can show no symptoms and have an infection in there. We’ve had senior dogs put under for much more complex surgeries and they’ve made it through. Your vet wouldn’t risk a surgery for a senior dog if he/she didn’t think your dog was strong enough and healthy enough. I’d go through with it, but I’m not a dog expert!

    • Jules

      Jill- thanks for your comment! We have noticed over the weekend that Cali’s breath has gotten really bad and I made a call to the vet :( The last thing I want is for my dog to be walking around with a tooth that hurts and and an infection.

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