Dental question-- hole in jawbone
I recently adopted a 2-kg Chihuahua from the local rescue group. He is perhaps 15 or 16 years old, very frail in general but has many good days and loves life.
He has horrific teeth-- only 4 left, all wobbly and painful looking, but he is in too poor health to be able to handle anesthesia, so we have not been able to remove them.
When he eats, he rubs his nose on the carpet (appears to be attempting to scratch an itch). He rubs frantically on the carpet after every bite, forehead to nose, over and over until it starts to become raw. He has also scratched up both corneas as a result of this urge to scratch the top part of his face after he eats. (We are using eye drops to heal the corneas and he also has an Elizabethan collar to limit the scratching behavior.) This has been going on for about 2 or 3 weeks.
The vet suggested that he is "trying to get out of his cage" (definitely not it-- he does it after eating, regardless of whether he is in his cage). I was thinking it was an allergy, but he hasn't shown any allergies thus far, and he does this after every meal, though again, just recently.
Last night, I noticed he has a large hole in his upper jawbone (on the side of the jawbone rather than the crest/"hilltop" where teeth would be on the ridge). I cannot see how deep it is-- cannot see any backside to the hole. Looks like it opens up to something hollow behind it. This is not a socket from a tooth that fell out.
I assume that that is the source of the pain/itchiness-- eats something, which then gets into the hole and into... what? Big void under the jawbone? Would this be painful? I thought teeth were painful because of exposed roots (i.e. nerves), but this is something else, perhaps? No teeth left in that part of the mouth at all.
I have an appointment at the vet tomorrow but wanted to see if anyone had any off-the-cuff guesses as to what *might* cause a hole to open up in the jaw. (More specifically, I need to go look things up in Japanese before I go to the vet, so I wanted to get a head start on thinking about what the cause of that might be. I'll Google in advance the vocabulary I need for the discussion. Once I spent 5 hours at the vet for the dog's gall bladder issues but I didn't know the word "gall bladder" in Japanese so it was a bit hard to follow the vet's explanation.)
I understand that no one can give medical advice, but I was thinking that if anyone had experienced this before, it would give me a head start on the issue.
Last edited by TokyoParrot; June 7th, 2010 at 06:44 AM.
Reason: too wordy... pinpointed the issue better