My cat is missing the jaw pieces to keep his jaw aligned. He figured out how to relocate it on his own for a few months, but now is having major problems again. The vets suggest experimental surgery, but I don’t know what to do. It kills me to see him like this and he is only three. Any advice?
The problem is genetic and/or developmental as the cat was the runt of the litter. When this first occurred, we had our cat "Stout" x-rayed. After looking at the x-rays, the doctor told us that the bone structure of his jaw is deformed where the mandible is supposed to fit into the skull cavities on either side of the head. The mandible is there; it is just not long enough to stay in place and is missing the end piece on each side that holds it in place. My Vet's theory is that if we can somehow wire the jaw into place by attaching the back of each mandible to the socket somehow that his jaw may stay into place. He said it would be experimental and may not work and could be dangerous. Risk of infections, inability to eat or drink, and the constant care that he would need for feeding and receiving drink were all mentioned. I have actually reset the jaw myself before by opening his mouth really wide and sliding it back into place, but for whatever reason this time the muscles around the jaw are much tighter and he is cooperating much less.
Oh my....I'm sorry for your cat. Poor thing. Is he suffering? because if he is then I'd go with the surgery, of course if your budget allows. If he seems OK with it and he can eat, drink and be himself then I'd leave him be. Does he look uncomfortable? Dont let him feel uncomfortable too long..it's not fair. Do something and be quick about it. I wish you good luck.
My husband just called me and let me know that he was finally able to help Stout relocate his jaw. His jaw popped out last night and we sadly found him in the same condition this am after several attempts to help him throughout the night, it is truly heart wrenching to see. Stout immediately rushed to food and water. Today we picked up some pain medications to administer when times are bad, i.e. today. The problem with surgery is that they would not only have to wire his jaw shut initially, but they would have to add pins to his bone structure. Our local vets are very hesitant. I do love my cat to pieces, he is such a character and so loving and I promise I'd never let him suffer. When his jaw is located correctly, he seems fine, eating, drinking, and talking. I will keep you posted, but in the meantime, if anyone has any advice or suggestions, please, please let me know.
I remember once having a cat with a bad eye. It was having trouble because it's vision in that eye was off and causing it sever problems. I managed to rig up an eye patch to cover it until it could have the eye removed. It seemed to actually appreciate it after it got used to the idea.
The only alternate I can think to suggest (I know, it sounds nuts to me too, but you never know) is to make/have made a special "muzzle" that restricts his jaw from opening past a certain point so his jaw doesn't slide out. Otherwise, I can't honestly think of anything helpful that your vet probably didn't cover.
I can only imagine that poor animal suffering and it makes me feel so sad. I have seen cats die in a car accident and I've seen people eating MY OWN CATS. When I was little I used to have many cats and dogs. I would always ask myself why after the cats grew why they would disappear. Afterwards I saw why they'd disappear and it was because a neighboor was eating them. From that moment every time I see an animal suffering I just get very sentimental. Cats are the type of pets that cannot stand pain. My vet told me so. They may even die. Is he having surgery? or you're just going to keep relocating his jaw whenever it dislocates? If the vet is hesitant ten that's bad news. I am sorry I dont know how to help you on this one. Just try to give him a good quality of life. Good luck.
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