Dr. Moody and Mr. Mutt

My Sweet William suffered serious injuries from an unknown cause last month.  See https://ranchrunamuck.wordpress.com/2013/03/09/trauma-at-run-a-muck-ranch/ for more details.   Until recently, we have been beating ourselves up over the fact that we have no clue what happened.


The next words you are about to read are not what you would expect:

Thank goodness Sweet William sustained serious injuries last month!

When he was on the OR table, the vet found problems with 2 teeth, more particularly, the roots.

One of them showed obvious file marks indicating somewhere in his past, either in Afghanistan or Pakistan, a potential tooth problem was treated simply by filing the tooth down to the gum line.  The nerves were left exposed.


The second tooth, or more particularly, its roots, were found on the side of the jaw where Willy sustained whatever trauma which caused him to be taken to the vet as an emergency.   It was assumed that tooth had been sheared off through whatever outside force hurt my boy.

About 2 weeks after his first surgery, William was ‘different’.  It took me a few days to put my finger on it, but affectionate to anyone and playful – two words never associated with Sir Moody – were entering into the vocabulary used when describing him.  The change was so profound, his Prozac was decreased by 1/4 dose.

We are now post second surgery, and Sweet William is even affectionate to his nemesis, The Crabby Man.   To me, he (Willy, not Crabby) is almost annoyingly cuddly.  A little slack here – I have to cuddle 12, AND attempt to get The Wolf Child we know as Marcy to accept human contact or she will be with us forever!

His (Willy’s not Crabby’s) Prozac is now at 1/2 dose.


OK, so I hear all Middle Eastern men have a tendency to be stubborn which makes Willy a product of his people.  But he isn’t so moody anymore.  Sure, when a mob of Idiots romp on his tail, Willy has something to say, but he isn’t sounding off just because they may be in his personal space.   Yes, Willy still gives Crabby the Stink Eye when Crabby is sitting in Willy’s place next to me on the couch, but it is no longer the “I want you dead!” Stink Eye.   And we still have the horse chasing problem…

Willy’s second surgery, to remove the filed roots, was not as harsh as his first one.  He was returned to me in the reception area of the vet’s office much more alert than he was back in March.  Despite having been in a strange place, under anesthesia, and was no doubt hurting from his root extraction, Willy worked the crowded reception area, filled with men, women and children, in such a way that Angus now has competition.  Never before  had Willy worked his K9 wiles to elicit ohhs and ahhs, accompanied by belly scritches and hugs by complete strangers.   And Willy was clearly eating up the attention, and more importantly, the contact by strangers.

I think it safe to assume, given the complete 170 degree (hey, some of what Willy was is what Willy will remain) turn around, that Willy’s problems were related to pain.  Pain from exposed nerves in teeth that were ‘treated’ before he ever came to us.  The transformation is so much that, in a couple of weeks, Willy’s Prozac will be reduced by another 1/4.   If he remains the new Happy Go Lucky, I’m gonna get that bunny, Willy, he will be off meds completely by the end of June.

It is also safe to assume the sheared tooth removed last month was also a relic from the Old Country, those particular roots causing the most problems to Willy’s demeanor.  I say this because the most dramatic change occurred after the first surgery, despite it’s longer recovery time.

If not for the vet’s assurances that unless Willy was unconscious, mouth wide open, under bright lights, on a table, no one could have noticed the roots, and because of them he was hurting, I would be feeling some serious guilt right now, and I would probably be severely ticked at my regular vet.


Instead, all I can say is that, despite the suffering Willy had to endure because of whatever happened last month, I am so glad it happened.

If you look close at the full body pics in this entry, you will notice the mark on Willy’s left leg.  It is from the catheter during his surgeries.  For fun, compare Willy’s posture and facial expressions to pictures posted in other entries, and you too will see that Willy is completely different than he was before he got hurt.

To anyone who has adopted a war dog:  I’m not picking on veterinary care provided in Afghanistan or Pakistan.  We have to keep in mind the ultimate goal, getting the dogs out and to safety, was reached.

Especially in Afghanistan, any kindness to dogs is incredible, and we have to give a little forgiveness if their veterinary care is not on par with what we are used to.

Still, if your dog is acting aggressive, moody, depressed, or unpredictable, take them to the vet and have their teeth checked.  Demand it be done under anesthesia and ask that every socket for every ‘missing tooth’ be closely examined to make sure there is nothing there.  If you are nervous about anesthesia, at least ask for x-rays.

I am looking forward to meeting the New and Improved Willy.  I hope you will be too!


12 thoughts on “Dr. Moody and Mr. Mutt

    1. We felt like such failures having to medicate him – but he drew blood. Fingers crossed that there was a reason, other than mental, for the problems, so we can get him off his meds!

  1. My little man was a rescue dog and he had teeth problems. The Vet did work and we did try to keep them but in the end all his teeth were removed. He was a changed dog – even the groomer noticed the change, he was more playful and lively and he started to put on weight now that all this poison was not going into his system. So poor Willie, I feel for him and am happy he is on the road to recovery. On the subject of recovery – how is Gracie??

    1. I know I’m not very pleasant when I have a tooth problem! Willy is a completely different kid!

      Gracie is fine – an allergic reaction to a sting or a plant. Will give more details in the next News Bulletin.

    1. Once the elation and the latent guilt (a mom SHOULD have known something was wrong…) are overwith, we will revisit the unknown dangers of the house. OK, so we ultimately decided Willy got hurt in an altercation with the horses, I seriously don’t know how he, and they, got together that day…

  2. Wow! What a story! I too am glad that he got hurt if it ultimately leads to him being not only happy, but pain free! Awesome! (though I am still sad that he had to get hurt for this news to surface…)

    1. I don’t handle “I hurt” eyes from any of the kids very well. Willy’s dreamy black pools caused even greater havok on my innards… Here’s hoping I never have to see them again!

  3. Such good advice and so happy to hear that he is doing well. I too am glad the vet found this problem. Who would have guessed it was a tooth that was filed down. So happy for Willy.

    1. If we ever win the lottery, my first order of business is full body scans on ALL the kids! The wakeup call with Willy now has me worried that something with one of the other kids could be missed.

      Then again, apparently I worry to much sometimes.

  4. This is fantastic news. I know the surgery part is not but so many behavioural problems are caused by illness or pain. It just goes to show. Always check the medical side before assuming it’s purely an unwanted behaviour. I am truly glad that you have found the problem and a whole new Willy

    1. We feel a little better about failing Willy by having to medicate him. Didn’t matter what we did to work with him, if he was hurting, he couldn’t help it. Fingers crossed the teeth were indeed the underlying problem to his mental issues!

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