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Dr. K
Dr. K, Veterinarian
Category: Cat
Satisfied Customers: 7544
Experience:  13 years experience as Veterinarian
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My 13 year old was pawing at her mouth and seemed to be ...

Customer Question

My 13 year old was pawing at her mouth and seemed to be indicating pain while chewing. Her gums were inflamed. A pet dental specialist performed a total extraction. The pawing and pain symptoms continued. Two weeks after the extraction, she was checked by the dentist who performed the extraction. He said the mouth had healed properly and could see no infection. Since then my vet has administered steriod and antibiotic injections on two occasions with little effect. It has now been 6 weeks since the extraction and she is still pawing and experiencing the same pain-like symptoms when eating (either hard or soft food). Any ideas?
Submitted: 9 years ago.
Category: Cat
Expert:  Dr. K replied 9 years ago.
Has she had X-rays of her skull?
Has she had dental X-rays?
Is there any dripping of pus or blood from her mouth?
Does she always paw at the area where the extraction was done?
Was she put on any oral antibiotics?
Is there a foul odor of any kind coming from her mouth?
Customer: replied 9 years ago.
Reply to Dr. K's Post: 1. No cranial xrays.
2. Dental X-rays prior to and post extraction. According to surgeon, no abnormalities
3. No dropping of blood or pus from mouth.
4. Paws at both sides of mouth (as before extraction)
5. Was on oral antibiotic for 3 days post-surgery.
6. Note no foul mouth odor.
Also, symptoms appear only after eating normally for up to a minute ... then the pawing, jerking suddenly and sometimes gagging (as on a hairball). After this she is back to normal. Seems to have healthy appetite even with all this going on.
Expert:  Dr. K replied 9 years ago.
She may have a problem separate from the dental problem. Pawing at the mouth and gagging after eating has begun can signal a problem in the pharynx (the muscular area of the throat that controls swallowing) or some other swallowing problem, which can be intermingled with problems in the nasal cavity.
I recommend that you take her to a specialist in internal medicine or neurology for an evaluation. She may have a tumor or fungal infection in the oronasalpharyngeal area that is causing her problem. Certainly, if this were only due to the dental problem, it would have subsided by now. The specialist will most likely want to do X-rays of the skull and may suggest an MRI. Treatment will depend on what the underlying cause is.
I hope that this information is of help to you. Please let me know if I can be of further assistance.
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Customer: replied 9 years ago.
After two months with the symptoms, she has finally shown some improvement just today, at least with soft foods (i.e. no batting of mouth). My vet had also mentioned possible esophagial problems as a cause ... but dismissed because she said that such a problem should have shown itself at the time of anesthesia for the dental surgery. I will wait a few more days to see if improvement continues and then follow up on your advice. Thank you.
Expert:  Dr. K replied 9 years ago.
You are very welcome.

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