The Dentistry and Oral Surgery Service at the UC Davis Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital has been busy the last six months with a group of rescue dogs whose jaws needed mending. In jeopardy of being euthanized due to their extensive injuries, three dogs were brought to UC Davis for one last ditch effort to save them. Luckily for the pooches, all were rescued by Marley’s Mutts, a non-profit organization that rescues, rehabilitates, trains and re-homes dogs from Kern County’s (CA) animal shelters. Marley’s Mutts wanted to do everything they could to save the dogs, and UC Davis surgeons had the necessary skills and equipment to help.

The first to be seen by UC Davis was Jaws, nicknamed so because of his condition – a bilateral mandibular fracture. Found by Marley’s Mutts, Jaws was in danger of having his lower jaw amputated, or worse – being euthanized. However, when Marley’s Mutts posted his picture on Facebook, a UC Davis veterinary faculty member responded to the post with information that the veterinary hospital may be able to save his jaw. Within just a few days, Jaws was at the hospital, and his jaw was surgically repaired.

As Jaws was recovering from the surgery, the issue of his name was discussed on Marley’s Mutts’ Facebook page. An overwhelming number of followers voted to rename him Davis, 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 wonderfully from his surgery, and has since been adopted into a permanent home.

Marley’s Mutts has also brought two more dogs to UC Davis with jaw injuries. A German shepherd nicknamed Lou Reed was brought to the hospital when the rescue group found him after he was most likely hit by a car. During treatment, Lou’s photo was posted to Facebook. Because the Marley’s Mutts Facebook page is liked by more than 250,000 people, word of the shepherd at UC Davis spread quickly. Turned out Lou was really named Bear. His owners saw the post, and immediately traveled to campus to retrieve him.

A few months later, when Marley’s Mutts received injured Zena after she was surrendered by her owners, they knew just where to take her to get her jaw corrected. After most likely being attacked by another dog, Zena also suffered a mandibular fracture. The oral surgeons at UC Davis performed a similar surgery to Davis’ and Bear’s – a surgical implantation of an interdental wiring technique and an intraoral composite splint, which gave structural support to the jaw as it healed.

Thanks to Marley’s Mutts and UC Davis, all of these dogs’ lives were saved, and a new connection was formed that may save many more rescued dogs in the future.

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***NOTE*** Marley's Mutts Dog Rescue paid for these surgeries through its donor base. The UC Davis veterinary hospital is a fee-for-service facility, and, due to limited state funding, is unable to offer pro-bono care to rescue organizations. However, the hospital can help clients identify certain financial assistance programs that are available if the clients qualify.