What is Abnormal Passageway Between the Mouth and Nasal Cavity?
Oronasal fistula is a passageway that is malformed between the mouth and nasal cavity. These defects allow water and food to travel from the oral cavity into the nasal passages; resulting in sneezing, nasal discharge, and chronic rhinitis. The real danger of oronasal fistula is when foods and water (or saliva) make their way into the respiratory tract. The respiratory tract can become inflamed and infection can occur.
This condition occurs in the upper canines rather than the lower, although it is possible for the lower teeth to be affected, but rare. The incisive, palatine, or maxilla bones lose strength and do not hold up as they should, thus causing the fistula to occur. Breeds affected by oronasal fistula are commonly the dogs with longer noses, such as dachshunds. There are several different causes of this disorder, and once treated, the canine can live a long and healthy life.
Abnormal passageway between the mouth and nasal cavity in dogs, or oronasal fistula, is an atypical space that connects the oral cavity to the nasal sinus. It may occur around the teeth located in the upper jaw, but is most likely to take place around on of the upper canine teeth.
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Symptoms of Abnormal Passageway Between the Mouth and Nasal Cavity in Dogs
This condition is usually coupled with a mouth or gum disease, so many of the symptoms will be within the mouth or nasal area of the dog. There are times that the dog will have no apparent symptoms and are found during a routine examination. Symptoms can include:
- Discharge from the nose
- Tarter build up
- Periodontal disease
There are certain breed types that are more susceptible to this condition, and many of them have longer noses and leaner jaw lines. Even with seemingly good oral health and proactive health habits, some dogs, such as the dachshund are very prone to this condition. Keeping abreast of the issue will help catch the disorder early and make it easier for the veterinarian to care for the disorder. Dog types that are more apt to having oronasal fistula are:
- Yorkshire Terriers
Causes of Abnormal Passageway Between the Mouth and Nasal Cavity in Dogs
The main cause of oronasal fistula is severe periodontal disease that has been untreated. When the socket of the toot’s bone has decayed or even dissipated (between the root and the sinus) oronasal fistula can occur. An oronasal fistula may be found in a dental cavity that is not healed, and which is covered with tissue called epithelium. Other causes of this disorder include:
- Harsh extraction of teeth
- Electrical burns
- Foreign bodies
- Growth or lesions
Diagnosis of Abnormal Passageway Between the Mouth and Nasal Cavity in Dogs
If you suspect your dog has oronasal fistula, a veterinarian visit will be necessary to confirm the diagnosis. The veterinarian may be able to see the fistula when doing an examination, but may have to insert a tool, or probe, along the root of the tooth. Since it is easily diagnosed by a veterinarian, imaging or radiography is not usually necessary, and are not very effective in diagnosing oronasal fistula.
Treatment of Abnormal Passageway Between the Mouth and Nasal Cavity in Dogs
Oral surgery is the only treatment option for this condition. The tooth next to the fistula is removed, along with all of the decayed gum tissue and bone of the tooth. Once everything is removed, the veterinarian will use a piece of healthy tissue from the gum and attach it over the opening of where the fistula was prior to the procedure.
If a fistula has not yet formed, bone grafts and the regeneration of tissue are options to prevent this condition. This procedure, however, is not usually recommended as it does not have a high success rate and is extremely costly to the client.
Recovery of Abnormal Passageway Between the Mouth and Nasal Cavity in Dogs
The veterinarian will give you instructions on how to care for your loved one during the recovery process after surgery. If for some reason, the surgery is not successful, a second surgery may have to be done for long term success.
The prognosis for treatment is good, and your canine should recover and lead a normal, happy, and healthy life. After treatment, however, prevention of the condition is a key factor; avoiding any periodontal disease can be done with regular veterinarian check-ups and proper oral health and hygiene.