We all like Shih Tzu. They are small, lovely, and great friends. They also need a little effort which makes them ideal house dogs. If you are considering getting this dog, you need to know all about Shih Tzu underbite. Here, we will discuss what this is and how it will affect your dog. Although simple matter, there are a lot of things you need to know and understand.
Shih Tzu Underbite: All You Need To Know
What is underbite?
Underbite is known as malocclusion and it is an extremely simple matter to understand. Basically, this means that the lower teeth of your pet will be pushed forward meaning that the upper and lower teeth will not align. It looks like the bottom jaw is longer than the upper jaw. Shih Tzu underbite is common and it affects more dogs than you may believe.
Keep in mind that this is not the only breed that has underbite. Other, breeds that are common with this issue include bulldog, King Charles spaniel, Lhasa apso, pug, and more.
When the lower teeth are pushed forward, it is called underbite. When the upper teeth do the same thing, it is called upperbite. These are the same issues but affect different jaws. In humans, it is easy to diagnose this issue and correct it.
But, all humans have almost identical structure. Dogs come in many different forms and each one has a different jaw, so diagnosing underbite may be difficult. Your dog will need professional help to diagnose this issue as soon as possible.
Shih Tzu, like any other dog breed, can develop underbite due to two main reasons. These are skeletal and dental. Dental underbite is caused when a dog has a normal jaw structure but the teeth (one or more) is misaligned. This is an easier form of the underbite. Skeletal underbite occurs when a dog has normal teeth but the structure of the jaw is abnormal.
Many believe that Shih Tzu underbite is genetically caused and they are right. Many purebred Shih Tzu dogs have underbite. This can be transferred from parents. An interesting fact is that some breeders intentionally use breeding practices where they will get puppies with underbite. These puppies are prone to injuries and infections due to this issue.
Is underbite in Shih Tzu dangerous?
The answer is yes and no. The same matter can be transferred to all dog breeds with this issue. If your pet can eat, drink water and groom himself normally, like any other dog, there is no need to be concerned. There is no need to take any precautions or procedures.
But, if your dog with underbite has severe issues that make it impossible or difficult to swallow and drink water, you will want help. This happens when there is contact between teeth or teeth and tissue that must not be present. Obviously, it causes pain and discomfort. Dogs with this complication cannot function properly which brings many other problems.
Potential problems caused by underbite
Shih Tzu can develop severe health problems due to underbite. Luckily this happens rarely but it is still something all dog owners with Shih Tzu with underbite need to know. All of the problems are caused by severe complications underbite develops and almost always when it is caused by skeletal abnormalities.
Your Shih Tzu won’t be able to eat or drink water properly. It can cause damages and infections to the gums and teeth due to the fact one teeth will damage another one.
The most severe problem here is called oronasal fistula. In the lack of a better word, a hole between the nose and mouth will form. Your dog will be in severe pain and can develop severe infections! If your pet avoids petting his face, has blood in saliva and extremely bad breath, oronasal fistula is possible. Take your Shih Tzu to a vet so you two can diagnose the issue and try to solve it.
By now you know that in most cases there is no need to treat underbite in your Shih Tzu. This is common and it doesn’t cause severe complications. In addition, in rare cases underbite can correct itself as a dog ages. But, if your pet is in pain or suffers from more severe complications, treatment is needed.
Your vet will use one of three options. The first one braces. Yes, dogs can wear braces as well. It is extremely rare and you probably won’t see a dog wearing one, but it is available treatment and one that is helpful. The second method is to remove teeth that cause the problem.
This treatment is used when one or two teeth are causing the issue with your Shih Tzu and when braces are not effective. Oral surgery is extremely complex and the most advanced method here. The goal of surgery is to correct or shape the jaw properly so underbite is completely solved.
You must know that all of these treatments are expensive and time-consuming. In rare cases, a vet can perform a procedure by himself, while in most situations he will need help from an animal orthodontist. A good thing is that all of these procedures will solve underbite permanently.
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Shih Tzu is prone to dental complications
If you are planning to get Shih Tzu you need to read this. 80% of dogs suffer from dental issues of some kind. Shih Tzu is at extremely high risk and has more frequent complications than any other dog. Dental issues include tartar buildup, rotten teeth, and losing teeth. This can lead to issues with the heart, liver, and also kidneys. Believe it or not, Shih Tzu’s life can be shorter by 1-3 years due to teeth problems.
If you are looking for Shih Tzu you must know all about Shih Tzu underbite. All you need to remember is that this issue is common with this breed and it is usually harmless (just looks cute). But, complications are possible and if they happen, your pet will need professional help.