Social media leads to saving dogs’ lives

CT scan of Davis' jaw before surgery

The Dentistry and Oral Surgery Service at the University of California at Davis (UC Davis) has spent the last six months reconstructing the jaws of several rescue dogs who would otherwise have lost their jaws or, worse, been euthanized. And all thanks to Facebook.

UC Davis became aware of the need for the dogs’ reconstructive jaw surgeries when a member of its veterinary faculty saw a picture of one of the dogs on Facebook, and felt that UC Davis could help. (The photo was posted by Marley’s Mutts, a non-profit organization that rescues, rehabilitates, trains and re-homes death row dogs from California’s Kern County high-kill animal shelters.)

Since then, Marley’s Mutts has brought three dogs to UC Davis for help.

The first to be seen by UC Davis was Jaws, nicknamed so because of his condition—a bilateral mandibular fracture. Jaws was in danger of having his lower jaw amputated, or worse, being euthanized. Instead, he underwent a surgical implantation of an interdental wiring technique and an intraoral composite splint, which gave structural support to the jaw as it healed.

As Jaws was recovering from the surgery, he was renamed "Davis," in light of the overwhelming number of followers who voted to rename him after the university that saved him.

"We were so impressed by the oral surgeons and everyone at UC Davis that we thought it was a fitting name," said Zach Skow, founder of Marley’s Mutts. "Normally, a dog with that severe of an injury will probably be put down. We were so thrilled UC Davis helped us save him."

Davis healed and has since been adopted into a permanent home.

Marley’s Mutts also brought two more dogs to UC Davis with jaw injuries, and who underwent similar surgeries: a German shepherd nicknamed "Lou Reed," and Zena, who most likely was the victim of a dog attack and was surrendered by her owners.

And now for another happy ending: Lou Reed’s photo was posted to Marley’s Mutts’ Facebook page and because it is liked by 250,000 people, his owners saw the photo and immediately retrieved him. (His real name is "Bear.")

Photo courtesy of UC Davis

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