Puppy receives head injury reconstruction

Above are x-rays of Ziba's skull, before and after surgery.

Puppies can get into trouble and for Ziba, an eight-month-old female Rottweiler, that trouble could have been fatal. She was accidentally hit by a car four months ago. Luckily, despite fractures to her skull and jawbones and concern about brain damage, Ziba got help. 

The Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital at the University of California, Davis (UC-Davis) performed reconstructive maxillofacial surgery on Ziba immediately after the accident and last week, announced that the fractures were healing and there was no evidence of implant failure or infection. (There could, however, be some potential long-term issues.)

When Ziba was brought to UC Davis, a CT showed numerous maxillofacial and bilateral mandibular fractures, C1 vertebra fracture, depressed fractures of the brain case, mild intracranial hemorrhage, partial dislocation, and fracture of the right temporomandibular joint (TMJ). There were also changes to the bones of her hyoid apparatus and the neck muscles that support it, and complicated crown root fractures of the right upper fourth premolar and first molar teeth.

The UC Davis team performed the five-hour surgery to reconstruct Ziba’s skull, jaws, and TMJ. The surgery involved closing the fractures with specialized titanium mini-plates and contoured screws that were placed to reestablish the normal anatomy of the bones and joints.

Following surgery, a large gauge wire was placed around Ziba’s bottom jaw, behind her canine teeth, to align her two mandibles and encourage healing. Her upper and lower canine teeth were bonded together on each side with a specialized biocompatible restorative composite to achieve a temporary maxillary-mandibular-fixation, which allowed the fracture of her TMJ and other mandibular bones time to heal.

Photo credit: University of California, Davis

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