Temporomandibular Joint Disorders Average Cost

From 327 quotes ranging from $200 - 1,000

Average Cost

$500

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What are Temporomandibular Joint Disorders?

The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) in cats is where the temporal and mandible bones of the jaw meet to form the hinged part of the jaw. Disorders of the TMJ may range in severity. There are no breed, sex, or age predispositions for most TMJ disorders. Jaw locking that occurs as a result of congenital defect is more commonly diagnosed in brachycephalic breeds such as the Himalayan and Persian.

Symptoms of Temporomandibular Joint Disorders in Cats

TMJ disorders may be very painful for your cat and can affect their eating habits significantly. Seek immediate veterinary attention as soon as you notice any of the following symptoms:

  • Inability to close or open the mouth
  • Part of the jaw shifting to the side
  • Signs of muscle atrophy and other facial deformities
  • Loss of appetite/unwillingness to eat or drink
  • Weight loss
  • Dehydration
  • Drooling
  • Pawing at the face
  • Excessive meowing

Types 

There are several types of TMJ disorders in cats, including, but not limited to:

  • Luxation or subluxation: This occurs when the joint becomes fully or partially dislocated.
  • Open-mouth jaw locking: Jaw locking is typically caused by luxation or subluxation. Episodes of jaw locking may be random, and will typically occur more frequently if left untreated. Jaw locking can last anywhere from a few minutes to an hour.
  • TMJ ankylosis: This disorder will render the cat unable to fully or partially open its mouth. Ankylosis is most commonly caused by trauma, infection, or disease.
  • Masticatory muscle myositis: This is an inflammatory condition that affects the muscles the cat uses to chew food. Masticatory muscle myositis will cause those muscles to swell, creating difficulty in opening the mouth.
  • Ear inflammation: In severe cases of ear inflammation – particularly those in which the ear canal is perforated – the disorder may affect the TMJ.
  • Tympanic bulla neoplasia: Cancer of the middle ear is a very rare condition in most species, but can cause inflammation of the TMJ. Cats with this type of cancer may have a history of chronic ear infection.

Causes of Temporomandibular Joint Disorders in Cats

The causes of TMJ disorders in cats depend on which type of disorder a cat is suffering from. Causes may include:

  • Accidental trauma
  • Congenital defect
  • Cancer
  • Infection
  • Secondary disease

The causes of some conditions of the TMJ – notably masticatory muscle myositis – are not fully understood.

Diagnosis of Temporomandibular Joint Disorders in Cats

Your vet will first perform a thorough physical examination. You should let your vet know how long your cat has been experiencing any symptoms. X-rays are generally required in order to make a definitive diagnosis. CT scans may also be beneficial for diagnosing certain types of TMJ disorders. If cancer is suspected, cytology or biopsy may be performed to confirm the diagnosis.  Additional diagnostic testing may be recommended based on the suspected underlying cause.

Treatment of Temporomandibular Joint Disorders in Cats

Treatment will vary depending on the severity and type of TMJ disorder your cat is suffering from. Your vet will be able to advise you on a treatment plan based on your cat’s specific needs.

Conservative treatment can cure certain TMJ diseases, including luxation/subluxation, ear inflammation, and masticatory muscle myositis. Luxation/subluxation may be resolved quickly by manually manipulating the jaw back into place. Ear inflammation may be treated with antibiotics, anti-inflammatory drugs, or antihistamines.

Prednisone medications are typically prescribed in cats suffering from masticatory muscle myositis. Treatment may last from two months to eight months. Cancer of the middle ear may also be treated conservatively with several lymphotoxic drugs.

For cases of acute jaw locking, your cat may be anesthetized while your vet manually shifts the jaw back into place. However, there is a chance the locking can recur in the future whenever the cat opens its mouth wide. If your cat suffers from frequent jaw locking episodes, surgical removal of part of the zygomatic arch is generally the treatment of choice. Cancer of the inner ear may also be treated with surgery, radiation, and/or chemotherapy depending on owner and veterinary preferences.

Surgical correction may be required for ankylosis, recurrent luxation/subluxation of the TMJ, and severe cases of chronic ear infection.

Recovery of Temporomandibular Joint Disorders in Cats

Recovery and prognosis may vary depending on the severity and underlying cause of TMJ disorders. Your vet will provide you with comprehensive aftercare instructions following treatment.

If your cat has had surgery, ensure they have a warm, safe place to rest on the return home. Do not allow them to irritate the surgery site. If their jaw injury was the result of trauma, you may want to limit their outdoor activity.

Your vet may schedule follow-up appointments as needed to monitor the condition. Due to the nature of TMJ disorders, the likelihood of recurrence is generally high. If the condition recurs, contact your vet immediately.

Temporomandibular Joint Disorders Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Oreo
DOMESTIC
6 Months
Serious condition
0 found helpful
Serious condition

Has Symptoms

no appetite, lost of weight

Medication Used

Amoxicillin

Hi, 6 months old kitten. He is being lethargic, and eats a little. He is losing weight, don't play . I took him to the vet and he noticed what it looks like he is having problem when he open and close his mouth? His blood analysis shows High WBC , High Neutrophil and low globulin. He was prescribed antibiotic but is being 4 days and he still weak and without appetite.

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
2691 Recommendations
Without examining Oreo I cannot determine what the cause of the issue is; joint disorders, masticatory muscle issues, dental issues among other problems may be causing problems when opening and closing the mouth. A thorough examination would be useful along with an x-ray of the joints either side to look for any issues. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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Blossom
Unknown
8 Months
Fair condition
0 found helpful
Fair condition

Has Symptoms

Lower mandibular

My 8 month old looks like it has a slight dislocation of the lower jaw on her left side. I Is there any possible chance it could heal on its own or is there a possibility I can fix it? She only shows signs of pain when she opens it more than half way. I've even gyrated her jaw a little gently and she doesn't react. It really seems like only a couple millimeters dislocated. I only ask cause I don't make money and have no other way to help her. It's ripping me apart cause I inadvertently caused this and I love absolutely love animals. Please help!

Dr. Michele King, DVM
Dr. Michele King, DVM
1221 Recommendations
Thank you for your email. If Blossom's jaw has been dislocated in any way, it will not heal on it's own, and there isn't a home remedy for that. Many clinics offer a 'free first exam' that you may be able to to use and get a veterinarian's opinion on the extent of the damage and what might be done about it. I hope that she is okay.

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Luna
domestic short hair
5 Months
Moderate condition
0 found helpful
Moderate condition

Has Symptoms

grinding teeth
Can't eat dry food
Sleepy

I just got my kitten back from the vet (she is 5 months). I noticed her grinding her teeth so loudly, it sounded like she was chewing on seashells. So originally the vet found nothing, and the grinding got worse, violent sounding, so I brought her back. He saw her jaw was out, but she was popping it in and out periodically. He said he could wire her jaw shut and give her a feeding tube, but since she's so young he wants to see if it goes away first. I have absolutely no idea how this happened. We didn't do X-rays yet, I have her on pain meds, and I have an appointment Friday, but I'm worried since her jaw is popping in an out. Right now she's finally gotten it to where she can close her mouth but she did that early and it popped back out of place. She handling it like a trooper I'm just worried.
Is letting a kittens jaw try to heal itself a proper way to heal a dislocated jaw? I know dislocations (at least in humans) if not treated properly can cause major damage... she's still eating wet food and playing when she can, but I'm a worried mama.

Read more at: https://wagwalking.com/cat/condition/temporomandibular-joint-disorders

Dr. Michele King, DVM
Dr. Michele King, DVM
1221 Recommendations
Thank you for your email. Without seeing her, I am not sure if the condition might heal itself, and I don't know how anyone would be able to say that for sure without an x-ray? It would be a good idea to have the x-ray to assess her joint health, see if there is a congenital problem that needs to be fixed, and get a better idea as to whether this will resolve without treatment. I hope that she does well.

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Sherm
Cat
9 Years
Moderate condition
0 found helpful
Moderate condition

Has Symptoms

Loss Of Mass
Locking jaw, pain
Locking jaw,
not grooming
Growling

Medication Used

Meloxicam

My 9 year old siamese has locking jaw, weight loss and isn't grooming himself well. Vet did x-rays and send them off for a second opinion, but there is no sign of erosion of TMJ. Ears looks good, he has his check ups and is healthy other some eye discharge. He had a few bad teeth extracted and has been on long term treatment with meloxicam, things are not getting better. Mt vet is suggesting a CT scan of TMJ...... any other ideas?

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
2691 Recommendations
You didn’t mention whether the jaw is locking open or closed; the most common cause of jaw locking (when open) is due to a subluxation of the temporomandibular joint where it locks into place, another causes may be due to anatomical anomalies but generally these would have been detected earlier in life. I cannot say what the specific cause is, but if x-rays have been unproductive then a CT or MRI may help. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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Croe
mixed
5 Years
Moderate condition
0 found helpful
Moderate condition

Has Symptoms

Jaw out of place
Drooling
Inability to eat or drink
Pawing at face

My cat came Thursday afternoon drooling, jaw seemingly dislocated, and had a few scratches marks on her face. We took her to the vet yesterday after noon and the x-rays revealed that her jaw was not dislocated or fractured. After googling around TMJ sounds very much like what is wrong with her, but we are also thinking that she somehow has inflicted this upon herself by scratching and hurting her inner ear and the pain is causing her to hold her jaw strangely. She can still move it and has attempted to eat, but it causes her pain so she hasn't been able to eat or drink by herself.

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
2691 Recommendations
There are numerous temporomandibular joint disorders which may include luxation, fracture, ankylosis or other issues; identification of the specific disorder is important to effectively direct treatment. Disorders like myositis do not affect the temporomandibular joint directly but prevent opening or closing of the jaw due to inflammation. Without examining Croe, I cannot say which course of treatment would be best. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

I saw this on another forum, glad Croe is okay. I'm going through a very similar situation with my Luna

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Luna
domestic short hair
5 Months
Moderate condition
0 found helpful
Moderate condition

Has Symptoms

grinding teeth
Can't eat dry food
Sleepy

I just got my kitten back from the vet (she is 5 months). I noticed her grinding her teeth so loudly, it sounded like she was chewing on seashells. So originally the vet found nothing, and the grinding got worse, violent sounding, so I brought her back. He saw her jaw was out, but she was popping it in and out periodically. He said he could wire her jaw shut and give her a feeding tube, but since she's so young he wants to see if it goes away first. I have absolutely no idea how this happened. We didn't do X-rays yet, I have her on pain meds, and I have an appointment Friday, but I'm worried since her jaw is popping in an out. Right now she's finally gotten it to where she can close her mouth but she did that early and it popped back out of place. She handling it like a trooper I'm just worried.
Is letting a kittens jaw try to heal itself a proper way to heal a dislocated jaw? I know dislocations (at least in humans) if not treated properly can cause major damage... she's still eating wet food and playing when she can, but I'm a worried mama.

Read more at: https://wagwalking.com/cat/condition/temporomandibular-joint-disorders

Dr. Michele King, DVM
Dr. Michele King, DVM
1221 Recommendations
Thank you for your email. It would be a good idea to get the x-ray taken, to assess her jaw and how it fits together, see whether there is a problem that needs to be fixed or if she has a shallow joint, and see what type of treatment she can get.

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Gilly
domestic short hair
2 Days
Fair condition
0 found helpful
Fair condition

Has Symptoms

Open mouth

My cats mouh have been open for about 5 days. She still is friendly, eats, and drinks. It doesn’t seem to bother her too much. Usually her mouth is closed though.she can still clean herself and her tongue isn’t sticking out. It has happened once in the past and since besides after a few days, but I think this time it is lasting longer, and starting to concern me.

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
2691 Recommendations
Without examining Gilly, I cannot start to determine a cause; it may be due to a disorder of the temporomandibular joint, nerve damage, dental disorders, Flehmen response among other causes. If the mouth isn’t normally open and it is now always open you should visit your Veterinarian for an examination to be on the safe side so that the cause can be identified and treated. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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Buffy
dsh
? 3-8
Serious condition
0 found helpful
Serious condition

Has Symptoms

Can't open mouth
Inability to open mouth

Our cat cannot open her mouth. The vet says that D/T wt loss caused by inability to eat enough & a URI, no diagnostics/treatment available. Euthanasia only option. Any advice? Believed to be TMJ ankylosis ?

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
2691 Recommendations

There are various causes for an inability to open the mouth including temporomandibular joint disorders (dislocation, ankylosis etc…), masticatory myositis, foreign objects (causing a reluctance to open the jaw), infections or neurological problems. Diagnosis requires a comprehensive physical examination in order to determine the underlying cause. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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