Be open-minded and request the same from your doctor
We have actually only met very few doctors willing to suggest and discuss seemingly unattractive options, slower solutions and in general willing to give information beyond “everything’s gonna be alright after a round of this or that medication”.
I am sure there are a lot of great vets out there in the U.S. But I think the fear of their services and therapies being perceived as “not working” or “working too slowly” is so huge that they rather resort to quicker solutions – not always for the best of the animal in the long run – in order to see happy customers.
This is where we as the owners have a responsibility to use nowadays possibilities of doing our own research and then having informed discussions with our pets’ vets and even reject certain therapies or demand options in some cases. And we sometimes need to be patient when we are going certain therapy routes.
I always recommend to ask questions to no end. And in case of doubts if the current vet is really choosing the right therapy for your pet switch vets or at least seek a second opinion.
Also, as with trainers, when it comes to vets and Bull Terriers it is always a good thing to have a vet who is experienced with bull breeds (I know that is hard to find). These breeds are special. And dealing with an experienced expert can make a huge difference. The same goes for the experience in the treatment of skin issues. Many bull breed experienced doctors naturally have this knowledge. But not every veterinarian is necessarily specialized in dermatology. But this is only my personal experience and opinion.
Often – just like insurance and other things in life – we do not truly learn about the real deal until we actually depend on it.
It is the same situation with vets. Owners need to take their chance to get to know office and staff during the routine exams in order to be really sure that things will work in an emergency or when it comes to more complex therapies, procedures and advice.
Don’t get your teeth into it too fast
One thing to be very careful with are tooth issues.
I have heard it quite often, also from our vet regarding Mila, advice on the teeth. In my experience many dogs have tooth malpositions, especially young Bull Terriers.
Many vets like to point that issue out early during the puppy’s routine exams and recommend elaborate treatments and procedures.
While other treatments may be absolutely reasonable and necessary owners should think twice about tooth corrections, especially if they are detected in a pretty young dog (less than 12 months old). This is especially important if the malposition seemingly does not impair or bother the dog in any way.
In Bull Terriers it is practically impossible to predict the development of the head, snout and tooth position for the adult dog in a puppy before the dog has fully grown and developed. That is pure guesswork. Bull Terriers have a very special head shape which also impacts the position of their teeth and bite and MANY young Bull Terriers look like their tooth position may cause problems in the future. In my opinion real problems such as pain or an inhibited bite causing issues when chewing etc. are the only reasons justifying a tooth correction in a Bull Terrier.
Don’t rush things You can’t dial back
Some people try to fix their dog’s teeth because they want to show them off in competitions and are afraid that tooth malpositions could become a disadvantage in the contest or even be an excluding factor. But if your Bull Terrier is not a show dog why would it need cosmetically perfect teeth if there is no pain or impairment involved?
Also malpositions diagnosed in a really really young dogs sometimes correct on their own or the body finds ways to handle the issue.
Mila was diagnosed with malpositioned teeth early and comprehensive special procedures were recommended. It was suggested to remove her lower corner teeth because it looked like they were standing a little too narrow and on their way to basically grow into her upper gums to cause pain there.
We did not take this decision lightly. And after doing tons of research and talking to some Bull Terrier experts and breeders we decided to wait and give this some more time before we take any actions. Because a tooth can always be pulled even at a later time. But once it’s gone it’s gone for good.
As it turned out Mila’s head shape changed over time and so did her bite and the body resolved the situation on its own. She still has that malposition today (narrow lower corner teeth). But there was no growing into the gums and there is no pain and no inhibited bite. Funny enough the vet today notices the good shape of her teeth every time we visit. 🙂
Fancy, our last Bull Terrier, had a tooth malposition as well, which actually led to us getting her in the first place. She had been born to be a show dog, but was excluded due to this tooth failure. If it wasn’t for that tiny little blemish the breeder would have never given her away to be just a pet. She had that tooth failure all her life without any treatments on and without ever having any issues with it.
I will not exclude that sometimes they may be necessary, in my opinion recommended tooth procedures for dogs are mainly popular among vets because they are cash cows. And it is hard for owners to really assess themselves how helpful these procedures really are and if there are other less expensive options or if they are even necessary at all.
But when faced with this decision ask yourself this question: If the dog is not suffering from the malposition why let it undergo anesthesia and subsequent pain for a correction? For most tooth procedures dogs are put under anesthesia, just in case you were not aware of that.
Anesthesia puts a much higher health risk on your Bull Terrier than improperly aligned teeth.