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Puppies generally show signs of craniomandibular osteopathy between two and twelve months of age, although cases have been recorded as early as four weeks or as late as two years. An experienced breeder can recognize the affliction early. Breeders of West Highland Terriers should be well aware of the affliction as it happens in this breed most frequently. Dogs suspected of craniomandibular osteopathy can be tested for the mutation gene.
Craniomandibular osteopathy is a noncancerous growth of bone that results in abnormalities in the jaw of dogs. Most commonly affected are small terrier breeds such as the West Highland Terrier, Cairn Terrier, and Boston Terrier. Less commonly affected breeds include Doberman Pinschers, Labrador Retrievers, English Bull Dogs, Irish Setters and Shetland Sheepdogs.
Your dog will likely show signs of distress when trying to eat. Excessive drooling is the most observed sign. Some dogs experience fevers. Some other inconclusive symptoms may be present such as depression or the dog seeming not like himself. Other symptoms include:
- These dogs have one copy of the mutated gene and one copy of a healthy normal gene. They are at low risk of developing craniomandibular osteopathy themselves. They should most definitely not be breed with another carrier. Arguably, they should not be bred at all.
- These dogs have two mutated genes. They are at high risk of developing craniomandibular osteopathy themselves. If they do not develop craniomandibular osteopathy themselves, they can still pass it onto their offspring. They should be removed from any breeding program.
Craniomandibular osteopathy is a genetic condition. Dogs with the affliction should be removed from a breeding program, as well as should their littermates. It is a recessive inherited trait, which means that both parents must be carriers for a puppy to become afflicted. Littermates of dogs with craniomandibular osteopathy should be suspected of being carriers of the mutated gene.
Diagnosis of craniomandibular osteopathy can be definitively determined with an x-ray of the jaw. Because of the relatively rare occurrence of the disorder and the ambiguous symptoms, your veterinarian may not be lead to a conclusion of craniomandibular osteopathy right away. Blood tests can help diagnosis. They will also help to rule out any secondary infection. In rare cases, a biopsy of the bone is taken to rule out other similar conditions.
Unfortunately, there is no treatment for craniomandibular osteopathy that will slow the growth of the jaw bone. Prednisone is often the steroid employed to ease your dog’s discomfort. Cortizone shots in the jaw are also often used. One big side effect of prednisone is that it will make your dog very thirsty and hungry. This works in your favor if your dog that is underweight or at risk for malnourishment due to his condition. Your dog may need more opportunities to relieve himself as a result of increased thirst and water consumption. Dogs that cannot tolerate eating dry kibble may need a diet comprised of canned food or broths. The goal will be to reach the highest caloric intake your dog will tolerate. Using cooked hamburger or chicken as a topper may help. Your dog may require a lunch or several small meals a day to get back to his ideal weight.
Some cases are self-limiting. A puppy may reach full size and be able to live a normal healthy life. Generally speaking, the later a dog shows signs of craniomandibular osteopathy the better, because the jaw reaches full size shortly after the dog is a year old. In severe cases, a dog may suffer from extreme pain and malnutrition as a result of being unable to eat. Some pet owners consider euthanasia rather than see their pet suffer in this way.
Recovery depends on the severity of the case. There is no surgical option at this point. A wait and see approach is often taken. If the case is not too severe, your dog can generally live a healthy productive life. Most cases of craniomandibular osteopathy are not severe enough to warrant tragic results.
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Sheltie He lived 1 1/2 years Symptoms began at 3 months Started by not eating or drinking , fever and lethary. At onset of subsequet attacs drooling. Prednizone helped him feel better and fluids were given intravenously He would regain strength and appetite and seem normal but when we tried to lower dosage he did not respond well Lethargy and fever. Repeat visits for fluids intravenously
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I had waited over 20 years to get the dog of my dreams. This last year, my family pulled money together and surprised me with a Newfoundland who seemed perfect in every way, however, when my puppy was 3 months old, he started whimpering whenever we pulled on his leash. We initially thought he had a sprained neck and he was treated with pain meds and an anti-inflammatory. He seemed to do better and we thought all was well, but then he started whimpering again whenever we pulled on his collar and whenever he bumped his face on something. This time we had x-rays done and it was discovered he had craniomandibular osteopathy. Since that time he’s been on pain meds, anti-inflammatory, had a respiratory panel done to rule out distemper and other conditions (as he also developed other symptoms - runny nose, eye mucous), and antibiotics from time to time. He gets checked every week at the vet and it seems the jaw, which initially was growing more in the front of his face, has been gradually moving back toward the joint. Our dog is also very skinny as he has lost his appetite. At times I’ve had to spoon feed him because he’s struggled with picking up the food on his own. This four month old puppy, who used to chew on everything in sight and get into everything, now spends almost all of his days laying around. His jaw is massive and he’s very underweight. He’s had really good days where he’ll eat his soupy dog food and act as if nothing is wrong, but he’s also had days where he’s seemed like he’s on his last leg. It’s been painfully hard to watch him go through all of this, but on the good days, where he seems more chipper and alive, we hold out and believe he’s going to make it through all of this and return to his normal self. This condition is very rare for his breed.
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Just got a new puppy and we named her Blu. At 6 months she displayed her first "flare-up". it coincided with her first period so we chalked up the sore jaw to hormones. Lasted a couple of days, then swelling went away. Continued to happen every 2 weeks and lasted for about 4-7 days. They got really bad (bulging eye) that we thought it was cancer. We tested for blasto, got a CT scan, did xrays... nothing. $2,500 for bone biopsy or just make her as comfortable as possible till the cancer took her. We decided to put her down. 2days before Laps of Love was set to come to the house, i come across this bone disease. Spoke to my Vet about it and she gave me a treatment suggestion to see how it played out. She wanted to give her anti-inflammatory, i decided to try CBD oil. Blu will be 1 years old as of June 19th. We have treated 1 flareup with the CBD and it helped A LOT!!.It could also be that this is one of her last flareups. Either way, it got bad before it got better and this last flare up lasted 2days and all swelling was minor. DON'T GIVE UP. LISTEN TO YOUR VETS!! Had i not freaked on in the beginning when they saw lesions on the CT, I would have heard my Vet mention Craniomandibular Osteopathy from the beginning instead of "It could be cancer"
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