My three year old dwarf lop Billy has suffered from molars spurs from the age of eighteen months. He required regular visits to my vet, Guy Carter, who is experienced in carrying out this simple procedure of spur removal without the use of anaesthetic. We always knew that his molars would lead to further complications as they were very maloccluded.
When Billy went to have is spurs clipped mid November 2000 my vet suggested it may be time to consider extracting some of the molars as they were showing signs of decay. A week later he was back at the vets as he had been looking uncomfortable since the last visit and a further examination revealed the teeth were not settling nicely post clipping and an infection was apparent. Baytril and Rimadyl were injected followed by a 5 day course of oral Baytril.
He made it through the Christmas period with no obvious problems but in the New Year he started making "chewing" movements again and was booked in for surgery on 12th January. An x-ray was taken which revealed some of the molars were growing into the mandible and the roots of the incisors were pushing into the molars. The premolars and molars on either side of the mandible were extracted and antibiotic beads were sutured in place. Rimadyl, Baytril and Maxalon were given and I was to carry on administering oral Baytril and Metacam at home.
A follow up four days later revealed infection in the lower mandible which was flushed out and his Baytril dose was increased to the maximum for this size, he was then booked to return for a twice weekly flush. However the site was still purulent and it was then that we decided to take a culture and sensitivity test to ensure Baytril was the correct antibiotic. The results came back and he cultured for Haem staph and actomyces which were both sensitive to Baytil, Marboflox and Tribrissen, negative for fungi and yeasts so at least we weren't wasting our time with the wrong drug. In early February Billy was beginning to show signs of improvement but there was still a small amount of pus in the lower jaw. However a week later it was purulent again in the lower left arcade causing one molar to become extremely loose which Guy extracted with ease. Billy was in a lot of pain that night and was off his food so we returned the following morning where we discovered an abscess appearing in the lower jaw - Billy was given subcut fluids and Emequell and was prescribed a course of Prepulsid tablets.
Things were getting progressively worse for Billy when my vet informed me we were facing osteomyelitis with the aggressive infection eating away at the jawbone at an alarming rate - his suggestion was to book Billy in for surgery again to have a large section of the bone cut away and filled with bone cement but he could only offer Billy a 50/50 chance. I went away to think about it and spent the next few days frantically searching the Internet for a glimmer of hope which is when I came up with a possible cure called bicillin from the US website etherbun. I had many so replies from my post with most of them directing me towards Marcy Moore who I later discovered was the person responsible for creating the protocol for the bicillin treatment. The following day, 13th February 2001, I went to Guy with pages of information and asked if he was willing to give it a go which he agreed to without hesitation. Billy had his first shot of bicillin there and then to be followed by another 0.5ml dose every other day for 90 days. Ten days later there was no more infection and the abscess had noticeably decreased in size and a further two weeks later it had completely disappeared.
Then in mid March Billy started making those "chewing" movements again and was booked in for an x-ray to see what was going on. I received a call while Billy was still under to inform me that there was no infection in the jaw but there were quite a few lower molars growing incorrectly into the jaw and was advised he should have them removed immediately. Billy made a good recovery after surgery until we discovered the infection had made a come back in the lower left jaw and a lump was beginning to form underneath. I discovered that the bicillin I had been using at home had been left out of the fridge for quite some time and had lost it's strength, so we started on a new bottle which I injected every day for five days which was enough to clear the infection and abscess for good! Billy continued to do well long after the end of the treatment in May.
However during a routine check up late June, Guy advised removing the remaining nine rotten uneven molars that were beginning to cause Billy some pain - we decided this should be done in two operations as it would be two traumatic for Billy to have them all extracted at once. But the plan was revised once Billy was under the anaesthetic when my vet called to recommend they all come out as they were in a pretty bad state. I didn't know how he was going to cope without molars but he surprised us all by eating soft food unaided after two days and hard dry pellets a few days later! We started him back on bicillin ten days before surgery as a preventative measure to zap any infection before it had time to take hold and I am delighted to report that a recent check showed there was no sign of any infection or abscess and the gums were healing nicely.
Thank God for bicillin as without it I doubt Billy would be around today and a huge thank you to Marcy Moore for not only introducing me to bicillin but being a tower of strength and support throughout the whole ordeal.