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Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Cat Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 29809
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 45 years of experience.
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He's sporadically smacks his mouth and fights it with both

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He's sporadically smacks his mouth and fights it with both feet. This morning he even cried an little when it was bothering him. He really freaks out when this happens. Took him to the vet yesterday and she put him under and checked his whole mouth, above his hard pallet, under his tongue, etc and found nothing? He has a small bump on one of his lips, but it looks like it's been there a while and this all just started night before last out of the blue.
JA: I'm sorry to hear that. The noise must be worrying. I'll connect you to the Veterinarian. What is the cat's name and age?
Customer: Blackie, about 6.
JA: Is there anything else important you think the Veterinarian should know about Blackie?
Customer: No, other than this he's healthy. When his mouth isn't bothering him, he acts normal, even playing?

You're speaking with Dr. Michael Salkin. Welcome to JustAnswer. I'm currently typing up my reply. Please be patient. This may take a few minutes.

I'm sorry to hear of this with Blackie. He's demonstrating the signs of a hypersensitivity reaction to a drug or food and, less commonly, atopy (hypersensitivity to environmental allergens). Is he currently being administered any medications?

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
Customer: replied 11 months ago.
He was having the reaction this morning before he ate. It had been about 7 hours since he had any food.
Customer: replied 11 months ago.
His coat is also in good shape without any problems and no itching or scratching.

Thank you. We still need to consider food intolerance and atopy. I would see how an antihistaminic glucocorticosteroid such as prednisolone affected Blackie. I would dose him with an oral form at 0.5 mg/lb once daily. If you didn't see a positive response, testing for food intolerance would be reasonable. Food intolerance/allergy is addressed with prescription hypoallergenic diets. These special foods contain just one novel (rabbit, duck, e.g.) animal protein or proteins that have been chemically altered (hydrolyzed) to the point that Blackie's immune system doesn't "see" anything to be allergic to. The over the counter hypoallergenic foods too often contain proteins not listed on the label - soy is a common one - and these proteins would confound our evaluation of the efficacy of the hypoallergenic diet. The prescription foods are available from his vet. There are many novel protein foods and a prototypical hydrolyzed protein food is Hill’s Prescription Diet z/d ultra (a hydrolyzed protein diet is my preference because it avoids the possibility of my patient being intolerant to even a novel protein). A positive response is usually seen within a few weeks if we’ve eliminated the offending food allergen. Food intolerance can arise at any age and even after my patient has been eating the same food for quite some time.

Finally, I need to consider ther rarer partial seizure (previously called petit mal) which is described as abnormal focal or asymmetric sensory or motor activity affecting any part of the body and which may be associated with autonomic signs, (salivation, vomiting, e.g.) and is associated with a change in mentation (mental status) and/or behavioral abnormalities. Please continue our conversation if you wish.

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
He has been eating the same foods for over a year. Would an allergy to food hit him all of a sudden in one night like this? When whatever this is happens, he seems to have pain? He ate 1 1/2 cans of food, spread over several hours, last night without any problems. He later had a slight issue and so far as I know was okay until this morning.

Yes, as mentioned above " Food intolerance can arise at any age and even after my patient has been eating the same food for quite some time." Food intolerance, however, represents no more than 20% of the hypersensitivity reactions in cats; hence, why I mentioned partial seizures which can appear just as you described. Blackie's vet (and I) would appreciate seeing a video of this behavior. This is a good example of a picture being worth 1000 words.

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
Ok, I'll try and get a video.

If you can do so, please return to our conversation after posting it on YouTube and giving me the link to it. Please remember not to mark it as "private".

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
Here is the link to the video. It's short but it shows what he's doing. He is doing it more often now and is crying more, sometimes growling, when he's fighting whatever it is. When he is sitting still now the tip of his tongue is out and it doesn't look like he's closing his mouth all the way. When he's not dealing with this, he acts pretty normal and really wants outside, which I'm not letting him go.
Customer: replied 11 months ago.
He has not thrown up or anything. No sneezing.

Thank you for the terrific video. There's perceived discomfort/itch/pain but nothing obvious in his mouth according to his vet. The etiology of his behavior can be a challenge to clarify. I would attempt to rule out a hypersensitivity reaction with prednisolone as I mentioned above. If you saw no response to prednisolone a central central nervous system disorder such as partial seizure becomes a more important differential. Be sure to let his vet see this video as well. I appreciate your taking the time to do this. Please continue our conversation if you wish.

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
She's putting him under again today to take another look and also do x-rays. He had most of his upper teeth removed 2 years ago and she's thinking it may be a tooth, maybe tmj, or possibly bone, issue. I'll let you know.
Thank you for your time!

Ah! Yes, a retained tooth root, perhaps. I'll watch for your next post.

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
She ended up removing some more of his teeth, ones that seemed to be pressing on his upper pallet since he didn't have teeth up there and there were inflamed areas. There also seemed to be a couple of places she found that looked like, sometime before she did his initial surgery, some teeth may have basically disintegrated and the roots had been covered up. (He was a stray we rescued from my sister-in-laws house). Hoping the 2.5 hour extractions and cleaning up solves the problem. Thank you again for all your time!

Thank you for the good update. I'll think good thoughts for a quick remission. I can't set a follow-up in this venue so please return to our conversation - even after rating - with an update at your convenience. You can bookmark this page for ease of return.

Dr. Michael Salkin and 4 other Cat Veterinary Specialists are ready to help you

Thank you for your kind accept. I appreciate it. I'll watch for your next update.

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
Just thought I would give you and update.Blackie seems to be doing good, he even wrestled with me today. He's eating and drinking and hasn't pawed at his mouth except once. It was the day after surgery and I think it was because of a piece of canned food that wasn't that soft and it hurt.Thank you again!

What a good update! Thank you for taking the time to let me know, Kay.