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Pup with "Parrot Mouth"

 
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axjms
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PostPosted: 08/19/03, 1:25 pm    Post subject: Pup with "Parrot Mouth" Reply with quote

Greetings,

I am new to the board and to GWP's but I thought I would try and get some advice.

I have a 12 week old GWP pup (female) from a very good breeder. This pup has very good bloodlines and you can see it in the dog. I have only had her for two weeks and she is a driven retriever on land and water. I have been working with her with a scented dummy and she uses her nose very well to get the dummy even in very thick brush (basically blind retrieves). I tried to introduce to her to water gently and she looked at me a little funny and jumped right in. She also is a good pointer for a pup. Anyway, as you can tell I am pretty taken with her and she has only been with us two weeks. Now the bad news.

The breeder told me that this pup had an undershot jaw but that it was only a cosmetic problem. I have no real intention to breed the dog I just wanted a great hunter and family dog so I took the pup. When I took her to my vet he had a very different opinion and started recomending all kinds of expensive dental work or even surgery. I talked to the breeder about this and he scoffed at the vet, of course. My question is now what? I have a pup that the wife likes (VERY hard to find), looks to be a great hunter, and may be VERY expensive to keep healthy.

The breeder never lied to me about the pup; he only has a different opinion than my vet. He also has a full 1 year warranty on his dogs and offered to replace my pup with one from his next litter if I chose. Of course, I would have to pay shipping and all of that.

I don't care about shows or anything like that. I just want a good hunter. I want the dog to be happy and healthy but I will NOT spend 2 grand on a pup I already spent more than I should on.

Any advice? Thanks in advance.
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cheerio
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PostPosted: 08/19/03, 3:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

First thing first: your pup is only 12 weeks old and is just about to teeth. The loss of the incidious (puppy) teeth and the growth of the adult teeth often stabilizes the jaw. In a normal developpement, the roots of the incidious tooth desintegrates as the adult tooth forms and grows. If the adult tooth forms and the incidious touth remains intact, a malocclusion (bad bite) of the jaw will occur. At 12 weeks you cannot know if this is what is happening, even an X-ray will not be reliable. You will know however that this is the case if the adult teeth appears and the inciduous teeth does not fall. Even a couple of teeth can produce a malocclusion.
So my first advise is to wait a few weeks (up untill 16 weeks), and see if you find any retained tooth. If this is the case, ask the vet to remove these incidious teeth and your problem will be solved. A word of caution: the incidious teeth should be removed at 4 months, after 5 months, the malocclusion may no longer correct itself.

The second thing is to ask the breeder if he already had an incorrect bite in adult dogs in the line. If the answer is yes, you may very well be dealing with a malformation of the jaw, and this breeder should remove any of these dogs from his breeding program.
However, an undershot is not as sever as an overshot. In most cases, no treatement is required. Many breeds have a sever undershot, called brachygnatism, and live very well. Such are the bull dog, the pug, the shitzu... On occasion, an overcrowding or displacement of adult teeth can be cause by the malocclosion, in which case teeth should be extracted. Because we are now speaking of permanent teeth, this cannot be seen until all of the adult teeth are grown. Any more serious surgery is usually done for cosmetic reasons and is not needed as a matter of health. Having said that, there is always the possibility of an unusual problem which only an examination and x-rays can determine. In any case, an undershot can interfer with the normal ability to grasp, hold, and chew food.
I would strongly recommand that you see another vet for a second opinion. In any case, you will have to wait and see what happens with the appareation of the permanent teeth.
In the mean time, certain exercises are known to help: with a towel, play tug-a-war. Once the pup grabs the towel, do not let go and agitate the towel gently forcing the head of the pup right and left, and then up. NEVER DOWN!

Good luck
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axjms
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PostPosted: 08/19/03, 4:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

thanks Cheerio!

Let me be very specific. The dog's lower jaw is shorter than it should be. I think I may have "overshot" and "undershot" confused. The pup's lower canine teeth are growing into the upper palate of the mouth. She seems to be an avid chewer in spite of this and has no trouble grasping a dummy or anything.

I have seen or talked to 4 vets. Two (who work together) recommended expensive options like surgery or braces. They also recommended putting the pup down or returning it to the breeder. One (the breeder's vet) said do nothing and if it becomes a problem at about a year just pull the lower adult canines. The last vet (the one I am using) recommended pulling the lower puppy canines and hoping the lower jaw will catch up enough so that the lower canines will at least flare out enough to avoid the upper palate. I currently have an appointment for thursday to pull the lower puppy canines.

I have talked a lot with the breeder (am I allowed to name names here?) and he said no more that 5% of his pups have this problem and it is not prevelant with the pup's parents. In his experience he does nothing to the pup and it just ends up with a soft mouth.

Do you think I should just wait and let the puppy canines fall out before and then watch for the adult lower canines? Is this towel exercise appropriate for my pups condition? I have always heard to never get into a tug-of-war with your retriever. Am I going to cause other problems?

Thanks again for your advice
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cmmilach
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PostPosted: 08/19/03, 5:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi,

My male had the same problem at 9 weeks of age. I had my vet pull his bottom canines (since they were growing into the roof of his mouth) & that allowed the jaw to slide forward. He is 9 years old now, a finished show champion & has two legs towards his Senior hunter title. I would go ahead and have the bottom canines pulled & let the jaw slide forward.

Good Luck.

Cathy M.
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axjms
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PostPosted: 08/19/03, 6:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you so much Cathy. I can't tell you how encouraging your reply is. Thank you very much.
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admin
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PostPosted: 08/19/03, 6:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Please please don't worry about this. This is a problem we've seen many times in GWPs. In fact, I've had several do this and they outgrow it with no problem. The worst thing you may have to do is have the tips of the lower canines filed down.

The cause of this is the lower jaw growing at a much slower rate than the upper jaw.. don't worry.. it will catch up.

And frankly, dogs that are parrot mouthed are VERY distinct and it is very obvious from from birth.

So don't worry about it... just love your pup!!

Sheri
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Tony
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PostPosted: 08/19/03, 9:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

cmmilach wrote:
My male had the same problem at 9 weeks of age. I had my vet pull his bottom canines (since they were growing into the roof of his mouth) & that allowed the jaw to slide forward.


Cathy,

Were the teeth that were pulled puppy teeth or adult teeth?

Tony
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axjms
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PostPosted: 08/19/03, 10:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sheri (bbadmin): so your advice is to not even have the baby lower canines removed? Just wait it out?

Thanks so much for your help.
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cheerio
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PostPosted: 08/20/03, 12:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Pulling the puppy canine although not always necessary may provide a great help. In any case, it will not hurt. Since puppy has an overbite and not an underbite, the towel exercise should be reversed. You may move right, left, and down, but NEVER UP, as it would force the lower jaw towards the back. In term of tug-a-war being bad for hunting dogs, I am afraid this is a question to be answered by the hunters of this board, as I have very little knowledge of the sport. As far as retrieving ability, as in drive, I can assure you that it is if anything, only beneficial. This is one of the exercise we do with our SAR pups, in order to check and improve the drive.
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cmmilach
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PostPosted: 08/20/03, 9:29 am    Post subject: Puppy Has a parrot mouth Reply with quote

Tony,

His puppy teeth were pulled when he was four months old.

He was getting sores in the roof of his mouth from the bottom canines growing into it.

Hope this answers your question.

Cathy M.
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PostPosted: 08/21/03, 11:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

In my case, I just had them filed down a bit... didn't have to have them pulled, tho' that was an option (they were baby teeth.. I have never seen this happen with adult teeth. ) In another case, by the time the appt rolled around, I could see the jaw was moving and I didn't have to even have them filed.

Again, don't worry.. just love your pup!

Sheri
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