Message Number: YG5550 | New FHL Archives Search
From: Bruce Williams, DVM
Date: 2001-07-15 23:46:00 UTC
Subject: Re: Jaw problem

--- In Ferret-Health-list@y..., "Jennifer " <kyfreckles@y...> wrote:
> Hello,
> We took him to the vet for shots and a checkup and brought this to
> his attention. He took xrays, blood work, and tried to open
> Bartleby's mouth while he was under sedation. He couldn't get the
> open but maybe 1/2 and inch. He thought it could've been Miositosis
> or Lock jaw. So, he put him on prednisone and sent me to another
> for a second opinon. She said it was neighter of those 2 things b/c
> of the xrays and the fact that he hadn't lost any muscle tone
> his scull. She suggested sending the med records and xrays to an
> exotic animal radiology specialist in California so he could review
> it and see if maybe there is a bone tumor or something. That is
> we are at now.

The prednisone has helped a
> bit. His mouth will open further now than it used to when he yawns,
> but not totally open like the rest do. We really don't know what to
> expect here and don't know what, if anything can be done about
> Has anyone seen this type of problem in ferrets before? Any ideas
> to what may be wrong or in what direction we should go? Any help

Dear Jennifer - This is an interesting and unique case, and one that
I haven't heard about previously in ferrets. We can first rule out
the possibility of "lockjaw" - the old name for tetanus, as this
condition affects all of the muscles and severe ambulatory deficits
precede any o=involvment of the face.

The possibility of myositis is also one that has not yet been seen in
ferrets - it is a disease of odgs that does hit the muscles that
control chewing - the top of the head does generally lose most of the
muscle covering.

Usually, a bone tumor of this area would be pretty obvious, but the
consultation wouldn't hurt. Some form of defect in the
temporomandibular joint is probably at the top of my list - rarely
this joint in dogs can be deformed so that it does not open
properly. The correct radiographs to demonstrate any defect here
would probably need to be taken at a referral radiology practice - as
the TMJ of a ferret is very small - the detail that is available at
most practices may not be sufficient to fully evaluate in detail.

I wish I could be of more help, but form a distance, this is probalby
the best I can do. I am interested to hear if anyone else has seen a
case like this and what the final outcome of this particular case
will be.

With kindest regards,

Bruce Williams, DVM