Craniomandibular Oseopathy

Craniomandibular Osteopathy, also called lion jaw, is a disease in which the bones, particularly those of the lower jaw and those surrounding the middle ear, enlarge in an irregular manner. This pet disease only occurs in growing dogs of certain breeds and has not been reported in cats.

Craniomandibular Oseopathy

How it Affects your pet

In affected pets, bone proliferates unnaturally. This proliferation typically occurs in the jawbone, and the enlargement is bilateral. As the bone proliferates, the affected area becomes tender, and the dog often develops a fever. This fever persists for a period of three or four days. These periods recur every two to four weeks while the bone grows. Enlarged areas of bone compromise normal movement and function. For example, bony enlargement of the jaw results in an inability to open and close the mouth normally. Frequently, pain while eating is the first sign of the disease in puppies. Symptoms of craniomandibular osteopathy can be severe, but the disease is usually self limiting. When affected dogs are around a year old, their bones normally stop growing. At this point, abnormal bone growth usually stops as well. In some pet animals, the abnormally enlarged areas actually regress.

Common symptoms

Common symptoms of this pet disease include the following: Recurrent fevers, Tenderness of the jaw, Bilateral swelling of the jaw, Difficulty chewing, Pain on opening the mouth, Swollen lymph nodes and Excessive drooling.

Treatments

There is no cure for this pet health condition. Treatment is aimed at keeping affected pets comfortable. This involves using pain relievers and anti-inflammatory drugs to reduce tenderness and control fevers. Care must also be taken to provide proper nutrition to affected dogs. In severe cases, this can require placing a stomach tube until abnormal bone growth stops. Once bone growth stops, most dogs improve, but affected animals can suffer lasting damage to their jaws. In the majority of cases, however, this damage does not stop them from ingesting sufficient nutrition and living normal lives. While the condition is not fatal, some pet owners elect to euthanize severely affected puppies due to concerns about quality of life.

Breeds Affected

The canine breeds in which craniomandibular osteopathy most commonly occurs include the following: Scottish terrier, West Highland white terrier, Cairn terrier, Boxer, Great Dane, Labrador retriever and Doberman pinscher.

Craniomandibular Oseopathy Affects

  • In affected pets, bone proliferates unnaturally. This proliferation typically occurs in the jawbone, and the enlargement is bilateral. As the bone proliferates, the affected area becomes tender, and the dog often develops a fever. This fever persists for a period of three or four days. These periods recur every two to four weeks while the bone grows. Enlarged areas of bone compromise normal movement and function. For example, bony enlargement of the jaw results in an inability to open and close the mouth normally. Frequently, pain while eating is the first sign of the disease in puppies. Symptoms of craniomandibular osteopathy can be severe, but the disease is usually self limiting. When affected dogs are around a year old, their bones normally stop growing. At this point, abnormal bone growth usually stops as well. In some pet animals, the abnormally enlarged areas actually regress.

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