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ER Vet
ER Vet, Veterinarian
Category: Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 1771
Experience:  I have been a veterinarian in general and emergency practice for 21 years caring for all types of family pets.
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my dog has been holding her mouth open for about 3 days.

Resolved Question:

my dog has been holding her mouth open for about 3 days. my local vet feels retrobulbar abscess is most likely option. she has been on antibiotics for just shy of 48 hours. she had a fever yesterday morning. Interested in food, but has a hard time eating. Does holding the mouth open (about 1 to 1.5 inches) seem right?
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Veterinary
Expert:  ER Vet replied 6 years ago.

ER Vet :

Hello, I'm Dr. Smith and I'd like to help! I just need to ask you a few questions to be well informed and give you the best advice. Is she able to eat and drink or is she not interested? Also if you open her mouth further, does she seem painful?

Expert:  ER Vet replied 6 years ago.
Most dogs with retrobulbar abscesses are very painful when you try to open their mouths and don't hold their mouth open. I suspect there may be something stuck in her mouth, blocking her teeth from occluding (closing) properly and that is why she can't close it. I have seen this numerous times in my career. Sometimes it is a stick or a bone stuck across the roof of the mouth,other times it is a loose tooth that has moved in such a way to obstruct the normal closing of the mouth.

I would recommend that she be sedated heavily and a thorough mouth exam be done to evaluate her mouth and teeth. I think you'll find your answer there.

Good luck and I hope this helps!
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Hi there,

she is interest in food but has a hard time getting the food into her mouth. She can kind of lick it into her mouth but it is work to get it back into her mouth far enough to swallow. So - she has been able to eat some soft food, but not crunchy. I have not tried to force her mouth open wider. she did pick up an over size tennis ball earlier today and then seemed to have a hard time dropping it back out of her mouth.

I guess the information I see on line is mostly about swollen eyes and not wanting to open the mouth. My dog is making a point to hold her mouth open, but not wide. She will close it while sleeping, but does not close it while awake.

Drinking is pretty sloppy. She puts her noise in the water and moves her tongue back and forth, but much of the water falls back out of her mouth because she is not closing it.

the vet has gotten a pretty good look in her mouth. would an object in the mouth produce fever?
Expert:  ER Vet replied 6 years ago.
Hmmm, usually no fever except if there is something lodged in the tissue that creates infection. I had a client with a Bassett hound with this once. There is also a condition called trigeminal neuritis that affects the nerves to the face and can cause difficulty closing the mouth as well as difficulty swallowing. This condition doesn't typically cause a fever but with the other symptoms I have to include this as a possibility. This is thought to be caused by inflammation of the nerves and resolves over 1-9 weeks. This is usually found in middle age to older dogs.
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Trigeminal Neuritis - hmm. How is this diagnosed and then treated?

thanks for your help.
Expert:  ER Vet replied 6 years ago.
Diagnosis is based on looking for other causes and ruling them out and more of a non painful "drop jaw". If you are able to close her mouth without trouble or pain, then this is possible. There is nothing that is known to speed up recovery as it gets better on its own most of the time. Vets use steroids because of the theoretical anti-inflammatory effect but no proven benefit.
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Customer: replied 6 years ago.
hmm - this makes sense to me. I will ask about it during my follow up visit. Thank you again. I hope if some other thought hits you in the night - you will send it my was.

Sounds like Bells Palsey (sp?) in people

thank you again.