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Dr. John
Dr. John, Small animal veterinarian, ER vet
Category: Cat Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 1205
Experience:  significant surgical and medicine background, currently working as emergency clinic veterinarian
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My cat cant seem to close her mouth - the drool is kind of

Resolved Question:

My cat can't seem to close her mouth - the drool is kind of smelly - any ideas?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Cat Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. John replied 2 years ago.

Dr. John :

Thank you for your question concerning Whinner. Is Whinner eating and drinking normally?

Dr. John :

Any vomiting, diarrhea, or other changes?

Customer:

She has been up until this morning....

Dr. John :

Okay thank you - is she indoor/outdoor or indoor exclusively?

Customer:

no vomiting or diarrhea that I know of

Dr. John :

Any other pets in the house?

Dr. John :

Okay good.

Customer:

yes - three other cats

Customer:

they are all fine

Customer:

she is an indoor/outdoor cat - but hasn't been out for a week

Dr. John :

Okay, does she ever get in fights with cats outside or her inside friends?

Customer:

yes

Dr. John :

Any areas of swelling around her head or jaw area that you can feel?

Customer:

one moment - will go look

Dr. John :

The odor you are smelling coming from her mouth is very likely due to a bacterial infection

Dr. John :

Okay

Customer:

no swelling

Dr. John :

Okay, so given the acute nature of this, I would say the two more likely possibilities are either a tooth infection or a bite wound somewhere in or around her mouth

Dr. John :

And obviously the smell fits with this as well

Dr. John :

Cats commonly get a dental lesion called a neck lesion

Dr. John :

This is a pretty subtle erosion along the tooth at the gumline and usually a molar tooth

Customer:

what do they look like?

Dr. John :

With time, this lesion will erode far enough in to involve the tooth root and cause pain and drooling and the tooth can even potentially crack

Dr. John :

Let me see if I can find a picture

Customer:

thanks

Customer:

that would be very helpful

Dr. John :

This is a bit advanced and more dramatic then what you may see, but a great example

Dr. John :

There is a neck lesion on both molar teeth pictured along the gumline, these are pretty advanced

Dr. John :

Full Size Image

Customer:

so they are the red bits?

Dr. John :

Well it may not always appear red, perhaps gray and thinner initially

Dr. John :

But the red is actually the inside of the tooth. The outside enamel has eroded away

Dr. John :

Essentially a cavity

Customer:

oh....so how does one fix it - ?

Dr. John :

This gets infected and can lead to a foul odor coming out of the mouth

Customer:

and not being able to close the mouth too?

Dr. John :

The typical way is to provide a short anesthesia, pull the offending tooth, clean the other teeth and assess for problems, then wake up from anesthesia and send home with pain medication and a week of antibiotics or so

Dr. John :

It may just hurt to close her mouth when the teeth from the opposite jaw come in contact

Dr. John :

Now this isn't the only possibility here, but is one of the possible ones

Customer:

Oh...I see

Customer:

yes, I understand

Dr. John :

The other common possibility would be a bacterial abscess somewhere in the mouth, from trauma, usually from another cat's bite

Customer:

would there be swelling or something like that?

Dr. John :

LESS common possibilities would include jaw trauma (which sounds unlikely to be able to happen, but fractured jaw, dislocated jaw, etc - usually hit by car or falling out of a high building, etc)

Dr. John :

Bone cancer

Dr. John :

Or cancer elsewhere near the jaw

Dr. John :

There would be eventual swelling with a bacterial abscess

Customer:

I see....

Dr. John :

So if you don't see swelling anywhere inside or outside of the mouth and can't palpate an area that is sensitive to the touch anywhere around her head, this would be less likely

Dr. John :

Jaw trauma or tumors would cause palpable pain while feeling along her jaw bones

Dr. John :

Jaw dislocation would cause significant discomfort when trying to open/close the jaw

Customer:

well, there is sensitivity - she really didn't like it when I looked in her mouth - and there did appear to be some red...

Customer:

but not a swollen red area

Dr. John :

So ideally she would see your vet for a sedated/anesthetized exam so that all of these avenues can be pursued without causing her a lot of pain in doing so

Dr. John :

Then while she is under/sedated, appropriate steps can be taken to fix it!

Dr. John :

Okay, so perhaps her teeth?

Customer:

okay - thank you so much! I really appreciated your being here to answer these questions...

Dr. John :

Tough to say without a REALLY good look. And when pain is involved and we are dealing with the mouth, it can be hard to look without help from some drugs!

Dr. John :

Absolutely!

Dr. John :

Good luck with Whinner, please let me know if you have any further questions :-)

Customer:

many thanks ... I will

Dr. John :

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Dr. John, Small animal veterinarian, ER vet
Category: Cat Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 1205
Experience: significant surgical and medicine background, currently working as emergency clinic veterinarian
Dr. John and 7 other Cat Veterinary Specialists are ready to help you

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