Showing posts with label Tooth Fairy Fund. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Tooth Fairy Fund. Show all posts

Friday, June 28, 2024

Windham veterinarian creates Tooth Fairy Fund for police K-9s

By Ed Pierce

A vital member of the law enforcement community in Maine will soon be feeling better thanks to the determined efforts of Windham’s Mainely Veterinary Dentistry practice.

Dr. Jennifer Keaten of Mainely Veterinary Dentistry in
Windham, left, meets with South Portland Police 
Department's Patrol Sergeant Shane Stephenson to
discuss treatment for Ziva, a police dog who fractured
a tooth in the line of duty. Costs for the surgery are being
paid for through the Tooth Fairy Fund, created by Keaten.
Ziva, a 7-year-old female Belgian Malinois, is the partner of South Portland Police Patrol Sergeant Shane Stephenson and has been diagnosed with a fractured tooth.

According to Dr. Jennifer Keaten of Mainely Veterinary Dentistry, she contacted local police departments around the state with K-9s on Canine Veterans Day in March to advocate for oral health for working canines. It was then she was informed that Ziva had sustained a fractured tooth while on duty.

Several weeks ago, Keaten and a Mainely Veterinary Dentistry technician met with Ziva and Stephenson for an examination to determine treatment options for Ziva and her availability for dental surgery.

“Ziva uses her mouth for her work. It is not uncommon for working dogs to break a tooth or wear down their teeth in the process of doing their bite work,” Keaten said. “The prognosis will depend on what dental x-rays tell us. Ziva should be able to return to full work and do so more comfortably after her treatment.”

To help police departments around the state in need of treatment afford complex veterinary surgeries, Keaten recently created what she calls the Tooth Fairy Fund.

“The tooth fairy fund was created to help service dogs maintain good oral health to do their jobs as well as to help community dogs that are experiencing severe oral pain with owners that cannot afford treatment,” Keaten said. “It is designed to help cover as much of the costs as possible, depending on the need.”

The Tooth Fairy Fund will be derived from donations and from sales of pet toys and oral health care products at Mainely Veterinary Dentistry.

Ziva will be the first patient to have the cost paid for through the new fund. All associated costs including surgery and medicines will be covered by the Tooth fairy Fund.

“We will perform a COHAT, a complete oral health assessment and treatment plan on Ziva,” Keaten said. “She will be placed under anesthesia to have dental x-rays taken of all of her teeth and have a full oral exam. Based on the oral exam and x-rays, we will make a treatment plan to improve her oral health. Ziva will have her teeth cleaned above and below the gumline to prevent and treat dental disease. The fractured tooth will either be bonded, or we will perform a root canal depending on the severity of the fracture.”

She said she will not know specifically what the treatment will be until Ziva is under anesthesia and dental x-rays taken, so they will have to be prepared for different treatments depending on what is found during the surgical procedure, which will be scheduled in the next few weeks.

“Ziva should be able to return to duty the next day,” Keaten said. “We are trying to advocate for regular preventive dentistry for dogs to prevent dental disease. This is especially important for these working dogs since we rely on them to use their mouths in the work. If we wait until they are in pain or cannot do their job it is often too late to save a tooth. Good oral health is the gateway to overall health for both people and animals. We recommend a full cleaning and assessment of your pet's teeth at least annually.”

Stephenson said Keaten’s offer to treat Ziva for free through the Tooth Fairy Fund will allow Ziva to best serve the South Portland Police Department while also vital to the police dog’s health.

Under a technicality in Maine state law, funding for K-9 medical expenses cannot be included in police department budgeting.

If you would like to make a tax deductible donation to the Tooth Fairy Fund visit or simply go to and click on the link on the homepage. <