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Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 24445
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 44 years of experience
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We just adopted a 7-month old dog (lab mix) who opens and

Customer Question

We just adopted a 7-month old dog (lab mix) who opens and closes her mouth constantly, every second, all day long (even when sleeping). This apparently started at age 8 weeks, at which point she tested negative for distemper. An x-ray did indicated a significant skull fracture (they believe another dog at the shelter bit her head). Could she have nerve damage? Would really appreciate your thoughts. The condition doesn't seem to bother her.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 1 year ago.

I'm sorry to hear of this with Emily. You've described a constant repetitive myoclonus - constant rhythmic muscular contractions every 1 to several seconds. This persists during activity, rest, and sleep. It is most suggestive of post-distemper encephalopathy rather than trauma in such a young dog. Testing for distemper is fraught with peril and can result in equivocal results. Cerebrospinal fluid testing would be considered in a vaccinated puppy because vaccination will confound interpretation of the more conservative serological tests for distemper. Please respond with further questions or concerns if you wish.