A rescue dog who had a mystery infection that left his jaw completely destroyed has made an incredible recovery – but has been left with a cheeky expression thanks to his exposed tongue.Two-year-old pit bull Bud was dropped off at an animal shelter in Mexico in the summer of 2020 with no information and a rotting jaw.
The infection had ravaged his mouth, leaving him with a decaying face and smelling ‘like death’.
A warning that there are graphic images below.
The Animal Pad, a San Diego, US-based shelter, picked him up and helped secure a risky operation to remove half of his jaw.
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Luckily, the surgery went well and Bud was back on his feet the next day with his tail wagging.Jill Castellano, 27, from San Diego, saw his story on Instagram after the Animal Pad shared an update post-operation, and she knew he was the dog for her.
She contacted the shelter and arranged to meet Bud at a park with his foster parent and says she was instantly smitten.
‘He came up to me and licked my face, and he sat right down in my lap – I couldn’t stop laughing at how much he wiggled his butt and how his tongue always hangs out of his mouth. He was a goof, and I wanted him to be my goof,’ says Jill. The journalist adopted Bud in late July 2020 and brought him home, where he settled right in to his new life with Jill and her partner Andrew, 30.
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Jill adds: ‘Bud is very sweet and also very energetic. He loves people. He falls in love with everybody he meets.
‘He walks up to strangers all the time for head scratches, and he whines when we have to leave.
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‘He loves to cuddle under the covers at night. During the day, he runs around and plays with his toys.
‘He doesn’t let his half-a-jaw or crazy tongue stop him from having a good time.
‘Amazingly, he can still eat his food without any usable teeth, although he always makes a mess because his tongue causes food and water to splash out of the bowl and fly all over the yard.’
After sharing posts about Bud on her Instagram (@bud_the_pitbull), Jill says she gets a lot of funny questions about him.
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‘One of them is whether we clean his tongue. Bud’s tongue gets covered in dirt when we take him on walks because it drags on the ground,’ she explains.
‘We do brush his teeth and tongue when it gets overly dirty, but usually he cleans it himself when he drinks out of his water bowl.
‘Another question we get is whether his tongue dries out – it does. It becomes very wrinkled and silly looking when he sleeps. But we always have water around so he can hydrate when he wakes up.’
Bud has needed several medical treatments since his initial surgery.
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‘Since his big surgery, he has had to see multiple doctors and dentist veterinarians because of his osteomyelitis (chronic infection), and get multiple CAT scans,’ says Jill.
‘He has had additional surgeries to remove more of his teeth in the hopes it would finally kill off the infection, but they didn’t work.
‘He continued to lose bone mass in his jaw because of the infection. Finally, as a last resort, a group of surgeons did an invasive procedure earlier this year – sometime around March – where they removed all of his remaining lower teeth, opened up his jaw and scraped out the bacteria.
‘Miraculously, it was a success and the infection is gone. I am beyond grateful to The Animal Pad and all the veterinarians who helped him on this path to healing.
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‘Every single one of them smiled when they talked about Bud, because of how friendly and happy he is even in the face of all this adversity.
‘Nobody knows what caused the original infection. One theory I have is that he was hit by a car.
‘A veterinarian told me once that Bud has splintered bone fragments spread around in his skull, as if there was some large impact that caused his problem.
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‘But as far as I know now, Bud is a cured and fully healthy dog.’
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