Dental Work: Last Resort for Biting Dogs?

by Mary Haight on August 1, 2009

An American Eskimo Dog waiting patiently for h...
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It’s called “canine disarming” and it is stirring quite a controversy.  The dental procedure performed on “Cotton” a 35lb American Eskimo was a last ditch effort to keep him alive.  Cotton never met a person he didn’t want to bite–he even bit the photographer who had come to do the photo layout of the story on him–way to make an impression! 

And this family is not the more typically reactive family who might try a couple of things and if it didn’t work, and pretty fast, off to the shelter Cotton would go.  The Krieger’s had Cotton as a puppy and took him to puppy socialization classes followed by training classes.  She enlisted a dog-aggression expert, she changed Cotton’s diet to low protein, used herbs, worked with desensitization techniques, rocks in a can, pepper spray, bought books and self-help videos, employed clicker training techniques, and even called in the Dog Whisperer.

Cesar Millan could get Cotton to be calm submissive, but the minute he was out the door, Cotton reverted.  Cotton went for a follow up at Millan’s place, who recommended the Kreiger’s have Cotton live with a muzzle.  Unfortunately the family had tried that, and the dog seemed able to wriggle out of them given time. There was not much in the way of unturned stones here…when she looked into local dog rescues, they would not take a dog with a bite history; a lawsuit waiting to happen, followed by a dead dog. 

When the Kreiger’s looked into and dismissed defanging, they found Dr. Nielsen, who performed canine disarming, shaving off 4 millimeters of Cotton’s canines with a laser.  Nielsen then capped the teeth to give them a smooth finish. This procedure prevented the dog from being euthanized.  The AVMA is against this procedure because it does not change the root cause of the problem. The American Veterinary Dental College will perform the procedure in”selected cases.” 

If it were your dog’s last chance, would you take it and manage the behavior issue?  Read more at the LA Times


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