German shepherd's missing jaw injury baffles owners, doctors in Ada

Published: Dec. 28, 2018 at 10:28 PM CST
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Ada residents James and Tamra Danielson reunited with their seven-month-old German shepherd, Hela, Friday afternoon.

During Wednesday night's rain storms, Hela and her father, Zeus, ran off for around 90 minutes when the power went out.

"It's a weird mystery," Tamra Danielson said. "It's kept me up for two nights straight trying to wrap my head around what could've happened, how it could've happened."

Danielson said she was gone at the time, but her husband discovered blood on their front porch and Hela in their back yard, bleeding heavily from her mouth.

"I don't even know where it happened," Danielson said. "I would go look for a puddle of blood or something. But it was raining so much, it just washed everything away."

Dr. Stephanie Rollins of Arlington Animal Clinic in Ada, who operated on Hela, said she has seen plenty of broken jaws on animals but never a case where the jaw is completely missing.

"That's what makes it so difficult and strange," Rollins said. "I've never seen anything like this in my career."

Rollins said she does not think Hela was his by a car since she had no other injuries. However, she suspects a single, downward blow to the dog's face from an unknown object.

Danielson and her family said they want to look into finding someone to reconstruct Hela's mouth, but Rollins said there are few people researching the difficult and expensive surgery.

"And that's what makes it so difficult is she's literally missing the entire bone from the front side of her mouth, almost all the way to where it connects," Rollins said.

Rollins said Hela is able to live with her missing jaw and adapt to a new life style, which would be easier for the younger dog, eating and drinking with the right side of her mouth.

Nonetheless, the Danielson family will continue to weigh their options and search for answers.

With encouragement from friends, Tamra did set up a Go Fund Me page to raise money for Hela's vet bills.

Hela will return to the vet's office in two weeks for more x-rays and a check up on her healing.

"I'm just glad she's not gone," Danielson said. "But this mystery is driving me crazy."

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