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Dr.B, Dog Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 741
Experience:  Diplomate ACVIM (SAIM) - Internal Medicine Specialist
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My dog was just diagnoised with jaw paralysis . Steroids

Customer Question

My dog was just diagnoised with "jaw paralysis". Steroids each day are the solution. His symptoms started two weeks ago when his sister was put to sleep after a year of cancer. Then he was stung while eating an apple. The vet thought that! Symptoms were foaming at mouth, heavy breathing, unable to drink--tongue could not lift food or water. Finally today she said this. What do you think?
Submitted: 7 years ago.
Category: Dog
Expert:  Dr.B replied 7 years ago.

Thank you for your post. I am sorry to hear that your dog is having problems.

Can you answer a few questions for me?

- Is your dog unable to open his mouth, or is he unable to close his mouth?

- So, she can't eat because she can't use her tongue?

- Any choking or gagging?

Thanks for taking the time to answer these questions.
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
He can open and close his mouth his mouth fine but the vet said that when she opened his mouth wide he cried. He coughs when he pulls real hard on his walk. No choking or gagging unless pulling on leash.
Expert:  Dr.B replied 7 years ago.
Thank you for the information.

I guess I don't understand.

What type of problem is your dog having? Is he normal? Why did you initially take him in.
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
Two weeks ago, after his sister dog died, he had symptoms of not being able to eat or drink, foaming at the mouth, and very droopy eyes. The vet said at that time she saw a red mark and tender to the touch on the back of his throat. Yes, I said it could be possible he got an apple with a bee in/on it and stung him. (We have apple trees on our farm--this summer he had walked on a bee and limped for about a week. So she knows he is very allergic to bees.) She gave him a shot and pretosone (steroid) pills. Now 10 days have passed--he is ok except he has NO control over his tongue. When he eats--it takes him about 20 minutes to eat a small dish--which 2 weeks ago would have been consumed in 2 minutes. He drinks on and on--(the meds do make him thirsty)--but I think he can't lap up the water. She has now told us that she thinks he has a degenerative paralysis--so he is on steroids again. And we will taper the dosage down as soon as he appears to be lapping his food and water better. What do you think????? Customer
Expert:  Dr.B replied 7 years ago.
From what you have described, it sounds like a problem with the nerve that controls his tongue.

Unfortunately, your dog really should be evaluated by a veterinary neurologist. It is an uncommon condition, although it can be associated with rabies.

It is unlikely that the steroids will help, although if there has been no improvement.

I am happy to help you find a neurologist in your area. Another option would be an internal medicine specialist.

I am sorry that there are no easy answers.

My thoughts are with you and I will be sending positive energy your way.
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