You Make The Diagnosis: Jaw Problem In Dogs

Dogs may inherit a variety of dental problems from missing teeth to malformed jaws.  Examine the pictures below and then name this common dental problem.

Diagnosis:  Mandibular Prognathic Bite (Undershot Jaw)

Notice how the lower jaw (mandible) protrudes past the upper jaw (maxilla)?  This condition is commonly referred to as an underbite.  It is further classified into three different categories depending upon the severity.  In mild cases, the upper incisors extend pass the bottom incisors but the lower canine teeth contact the upper third incisors instead of the upper canine teeth.  In moderate cases, the incisors meet each other in what is termed a level bite.  The most severe category of underbites is called reverse scissor bite.  The teeth are the reverse image of a normal mouth. 

The goal of therapy is to give the patient a pain-free bite.  The teeth that interfere are shortened or extracted.  If your pet suffers from any form of malocclusion, please have a veterinarian examine them for abnormal points of contact that may cause pain and/or tooth damage.  With proper care, these dogs will enjoy good health with their unique bites.        

Published by kristennelsondvm

Dr. Kristen Nelson grew up on a farm in Watertown, Minn., where she developed a deep love for animals of all kinds. She received a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from the University of Minnesota, College of Veterinary Medicine. Kris then completed a small-animal internship at the prestigious Animal Medical Center in New York City. In addition to writing and speaking, she cares for small and exotic animals in Scottsdale, Az. Dr. Nelson is widely quoted in the media. Her credits include Ladies’ Home Journal, USA TODAY, the Los Angeles Times and numerous radio and television interviews. Dr. Nelson has written two books, Coated With Fur: A Vet’s Life and Coated With Fur: A Blind Cat’s Love. Kris and her husband Steve share their home with rescued cats, birds and a dog.

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