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Old March 23rd, 2010, 05:02 PM
Karli Karli is offline
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Exclamation Locked jaw, not tetanus

Hi there,

I have an unusual problem with my normally sweet tempered pup. He has just turned one year old this month and loved chewing on anything! This got him in to trouble when, one day, we touched his mouth and he yelped. We found, what we assume, is a piece of jagged cow hoof (we share 5 acres with a neighbour who gave that to his dog) lodged between his cheek and his back molar.

That week we put him on antibiotics and thought he wasn't opening his mouth because it was sore. Our dog, Fidel, started perking up, but still wouldn't open his mouth. We took him back to the vet where she tried to do an X-Ray while he was awake, but couldn't get a good one, so she gave us another dose of antibiotics and scheduled to have him put under general to take a proper X-Ray the next week.

The next week, the X-Ray was done and was inconclusive. As well, the vet could not open Fidel's mouth while he was under. (I'm assuming it's more of a joint issue now than a muscle issue) Our vet referred us to Vancouver vets, so me and my partner went online to see if we could find anything similar and the only thing we came up with was owners who had tried prednisone (a corticosteroid) and used this long term as symptoms would return when the medication was stopped.

So, we have Fidel on prednisone right now (100 mg/day) and the anti-inflammatory properties of the steroid seem to help somewhat. He is now able to open his jaw approx. an inch (before it was only a centimeter), but with this he has terrible side effects:
  • has gained weight back - but is now hungry more often than not,
    drinks water like there's no tomorrow - and now has to get up to pee as often as I do (as I'm 7 months pregnant),
    he no longer wants to play with other dogs he used to enjoy playing with - his personality seems to have changed now that he's on prednisone,
    the fat surrounding his skull has not come back and looks sunken in

With the last symptom, I am now wondering if it was some kind of nasty, rare virus or parasite?

If anyone has heard of this or anything like this, please, let me know if there are other options for us. We don't want to keep spending all this money to do more tests that come up with inconclusive results as we're soon going to be on half my income for a year and spending a lot more on the new little one on the way.

Thanks in advance,
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Old March 23rd, 2010, 05:21 PM
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14+kitties 14+kitties is offline
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Has he been checked for Masticatory Myositis? We have a member on here who's dog had that problem. Maybe could be checked?
Here are some of the threads from Lukka'sma.

Assumptions do nothing but make an ass out of u and me.

We can stick our heads in the sand for only so long before it starts choking us. Face it folks. The pet population is bad ALL OVER THE WORLD!
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Old March 24th, 2010, 12:24 PM
ScottieDog ScottieDog is offline
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This is a long shot, but there is a jaw condition that can affect pups, primarily terrier breeds. It is called Craniomandibular Osteopathy disease. This is an abnormal growth of the jaw that typically shows up in dogs 3-8 months old and by age one, the growth slows and may regress. It is painful. While typically seen in Westies, Scotties and Cairn terriers, this can be seen in other breeds (although more rare) and onset at your dog's age would be uncommon, but not unheard of. Diagnosis is made through X-ray.

Here are some links for more information:

This condition is sometimes called "lion jaw" "Westie jaw" or "Scottie jaw". I know, it is a long-shot, but this is a condition that isn't seen frequently. Good luck to Fidel--he sure is a handsome boy!
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Old March 24th, 2010, 01:27 PM
kandy kandy is offline
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I would suggest an orthopedic vet - sometimes bone issues are hard for general practice vets to recognize, especially if it's a rare disorder.

I hope the pup is feeling better soon!!!!!!!!
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Old March 26th, 2010, 12:58 AM
Karli Karli is offline
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Thanks so far everyone! Going to the vet again tomorrow to see about this prednisone and will bring up this info. Keeping my fingers crossed!!!
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Old March 26th, 2010, 08:00 PM
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Best wishes for you and your dog, Karli! Let us know how the vet visit goes!
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Old July 20th, 2011, 04:07 PM
BJPCPA BJPCPA is offline
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My pup has the same issue

What did it turn out to be? Lucy has the same issue and I have been to two vets who have never seen it before.
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Old July 20th, 2011, 07:00 PM
Karli Karli is offline
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Fidel's not-locked jaw syndrome

Hi there.

Completely forgot about this thread. I still have no clue as to what caused the not-locked jaw syndrome, but we kept him on the prednisone despite the personality, weight, and other changes. After at least a few months on the prednisone he finished the entire bottle. Some time after that most of the symptoms have disappeared.
  • His head doesn't look sunken in like it did, I'm pretty sure it was just the weight loss
  • his torso seems slightly bigger than the rest of his body, but as he was still growing and is a mutt, it's hard to say what his body should have looked like as an adult
  • his eating and drinking habits are regular and seems to keep him healthy
  • It's basically impossible for me to be objective in terms of his personality. I think it changed...
It's hard to say what his personality would have been like without the steroids as he was still growing at the time this happened. He is a well adjusted dog except he's anxious around humans but is fine around my baby, our family, all other dogs and anyone who is around long enough to warm up to him.

As a nurse I've seen a number of times the effects of long term high dose steroid use, but had never seen such a personality change in a person, so I was quite worried at the time to keep him on the high dose of steroids. (Perhaps he was just depressed?) I wish I had a better solution, but it was a rough couple of months until he felt like our dog again. Either way we still have our beloved dog and he really is a sweet heart (except when he's anxious) and is really great with our baby (I think that's because he knew he had to be gentle and nice around the baby or I wouldn't pay him any attention).

I believe the dose he was on was 50mg twice a day? Don't quote me on that dose amount, but it was roughly that. We went through a regular sized prednisone bottle (that we nurses carry on our medicine carts) and another 20 pills or so.

I hope that helps. Good luck to you and your dog.


PS We also try to keep him away from cow/pig hoofs (from the neighbour) but he chews on whatever is out on our five acres and doesn't seem to have learned, but we have yet to encounter this same problem in the past year and a half.
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Old July 20th, 2011, 07:08 PM
Karli Karli is offline
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Masticatory Myositis

I believe that it was MM after looking it up again. Though our vet didn't think so because she couldn't open his jaw even when he was put under general anesthesia. I believe it was probably swollen that much that his jaw literally could not open and I'm sure it was painful too. That's my best guess. This site is awesome to get answers. Couldn't find anything like this anywhere else on the web! Thanks to everyone's help and support
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Old July 23rd, 2011, 02:27 AM
MaxaLisa MaxaLisa is offline
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Originally Posted by BJPCPA View Post
What did it turn out to be? Lucy has the same issue and I have been to two vets who have never seen it before.
Tick diseases, like lyme can also cause this.

Hope that your pup gets better quickly!
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lock jaw, not tetanus, prednisone, side effects, sunken head

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