Paralysis of the Jaw in Dogs

Paralysis of the Jaw in Dogs - Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment, Recovery, Management, Cost
Paralysis of the Jaw in Dogs - Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment, Recovery, Management, Cost

What is Paralysis of the Jaw?

Jaw paralysis in dogs is usually caused by trigeminal neuropathy in the mandibular branch of the nerve, which disrupts the animal's ability to control certain facial muscles. The condition is best characterized, or recognized by pet owners, by an inability to move the mouth though other symptoms may be present depending on the extent of the neuropathy. There is no known cause for trigeminal neuropathy, and it typically resolves on its own after several weeks.

Trigeminal neuropathy is the most common cause for paralysis of the jaw, as inflammation of the trigeminal nerve leads to an inability to move the mouth. Because of its idiopathic nature, there is no true treatment for the condition, though supportive care will be necessary during the recovery period. Most dogs recover full use of their facial muscles after a few weeks.
Youtube Play

Paralysis of the Jaw Average Cost

From 29 quotes ranging from $300 - $3,500

Average Cost

$800

Symptoms of Paralysis of the Jaw in Dogs

The characteristic symptom of jaw paralysis is an inability to open or close the mouth, which may result in your dog's lower jaw dropping open. Depending on which specific branches of the trigeminal nerve are affected, additional clinical signs may include:

  • Inability to blink
  • Difficulty eating or drinking
  • Anorexia
  • Lethargy
arrow-up-icon

Top

Causes of Paralysis of the Jaw in Dogs

Paralysis of the jaw is most commonly caused by trigeminal neuropathy, an inflammatory disease that affects the trigeminal nerve and leads to a disruption in the dog's ability to control facial muscles. The disease is typically idiopathic, meaning that there is no known cause, although paralysis of the jaw may also arise as the result of a separate underlying condition such as an infection.

arrow-up-icon

Top

Diagnosis of Paralysis of the Jaw in Dogs

As part of the initial examination, the veterinarian may conduct laboratory testing, including blood work and a urinalysis. However, paralysis of the jaw can be easily diagnosed by the dog's inability to move his mouth, and the veterinarian may make a presumptive diagnose of trigeminal neuropathy based on clinical findings and history.

The diagnosis is typically confirmed by ruling out other potential causes for your dog's symptoms. The veterinarian will inspect your dog's ears thoroughly for signs of infection and may use an MRI or CT to examine the brain and skull. Imaging helps determine possible underlying causes for the paralysis, if any, and may reveal a slightly enlarged trigeminal nerve, though such comprehensive tests are usually used to rule out other diseases instead of to confirm trigeminal neuropathy.

arrow-up-icon

Top

Treatment of Paralysis of the Jaw in Dogs

Idiopathic trigeminal neuropathy usually clears up on its own after two or three weeks. The veterinarian may prescribe anti-inflammatory medication though treatment typically focuses on supportive care instead of on curing the condition. Because of the dog's inability to move his jaw, it is important to ensure that he is getting sufficient nutrition and hydration in other ways. Most dogs are still able to lap with their tongues, but a feeding tube may be necessary depending on the severity of the paralysis.

arrow-up-icon

Top

Worried about the cost of Paralysis Of Jaw treatment?

Pet Insurance covers the cost of many common pet health conditions. Prepare for the unexpected by getting a quote from top pet insurance providers.

Recovery of Paralysis of the Jaw in Dogs

During the recovery process, you may need to provide nutritional support for your dog. A liquid diet is the standard for dogs recovering from trigeminal neuropathy, as most are still able to use their tongues. It's imperative that you provide your pup with plenty of water, and cook all meals down to the consistency of gruel, making it possible for your dog to receive proper nutrition.

If you notice any new clinical signs in your dog, inform the veterinarian immediately. However, the prognosis for this condition is generally good, as trigeminal neuropathy often clears up on its own after several weeks.

arrow-up-icon

Top

Paralysis of the Jaw Average Cost

From 29 quotes ranging from $300 - $3,500

Average Cost

$800

arrow-up-icon

Top

Paralysis of the Jaw Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

dog-name-icon

dog-breed-icon

Shih Tzu

dog-age-icon

Five Years

thumbs-up-icon

7 found helpful

thumbs-up-icon

7 found helpful

Has Symptoms

Tongue Paralysis, Sleeping A Lot, Can’T Use Tongue To Drink Water

My dog woke up one day and her tongue was turned to the side hanging out of her mouth, she had never had any teeth pulled and seemed happy, she went to eat and her tongue was still stuck to the side of her mouth and she was chewing on it without knowing. When she tries to go drink water she can’t control her tongue at all and just shoved her nose in the water till she chokes herself. She wants to eat and drink but can’t because her tongue suddenly stopped working. It’s not sensitive or discolored, please send thoughts

July 31, 2020

Owner

answer-icon

Dr. Michele K. DVM

recommendation-ribbon

7 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. There are many nerves in the face and neck that control function of the tongue, and she may have a problem if she is not able to feel or control her tongue - she will not be able to drink water or eat properly. It would be best to have her seen by a veterinarian as soon as possible to see what might be going on. Once they know more and are able to examine her, they will be able to let you know what options there are for treatment. I hope that she is okay.

Aug. 4, 2020

Was this experience helpful?

dog-name-icon

Sophie

dog-breed-icon

Boxer Shepherd

dog-age-icon

4 Years

thumbs-up-icon

4 found helpful

thumbs-up-icon

4 found helpful

Has Symptoms

Not As Active As Usual
Excessive Drooling
Squinting Eyes
Swelling Around Nose And Face

My four year old boxer/shepherd mix began squinting about a week ago and was not as hyper as she normally is. We mentioned it to our vet when she went in for her immunizations five days ago. They performed blood work and examined her. They stated her eye pressure was low and prescribed an antibiotic for her eyes and Prilosec for her belching. The vet called us and stated the blood work did show a hook worm infection and a slight inflammatory response. The past two days we have noticed that her jaw is slack and hangs open with a lot of drooling. She is still eating and drinking with what appears more effort than is usual for her. I gave her a milk bone a few minutes ago. She could not even close her mouth around it to take it from my hand. After a few minutes of licking, she managed to get the milk bone in her mouth and chew it.

April 9, 2018

Sophie's Owner

answer-icon

Dr. Michele K. DVM

recommendation-ribbon

4 Recommendations

That is definitely not normal behavior for her, and it would be best to have her rechecked by your veterinarian as soon as possible. She may have a neurologic problem going on that needs treatment, and you veterinarian will be able to recommend any necessary testing or treatment once they have seen Sophie. I hope that she is okay.

April 9, 2018

Was this experience helpful?

Paralysis of the Jaw Average Cost

From 29 quotes ranging from $300 - $3,500

Average Cost

$800

Need pet insurance?
Need pet insurance?

Learn more in the Wag! app

Five starsFive starsFive starsFive starsFive stars

43k+ reviews

Install


© 2022 Wag Labs, Inc. All rights reserved.