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Feline Dental Health Case Study: Managing Temporomandibular Joint Luxation

Feline Dental Health Case Study: Managing Temporomandibular Joint Luxation

Case Summary:

A cat presented with a temporomandibular joint (TMJ) luxation after a fall from a shelf. Initial attempts to reposition the TMJ at an emergency clinic were followed by a referral to ensure no fractures. The treatment involved the 'button' technique for TMJ stabilization, which was successful after three weeks of esophageal tube feeding. Post-treatment, the cat returned to normal function, although slight TMJ mobility and subluxation were noted. Imaging confirmed no fractures, and Ethilon with 3 buttons was used for stabilization, to be removed in 7-14 days. Follow-up imaging, specifically Cone Beam Computed Tomography (CBCT), was recommended one year later to monitor dental development.

Key Takeaways:

  1. TMJ Luxation Management: Maxilomandibular Fixation (MMF) was utilized with the 'button' method.  It is effective for stabilizing TMJ luxation in cats, allowing for muscle healing while keeping the joint in place.
  2. Importance of Imaging: Initial imaging confirmed the absence of fractures, and that the TMJ luxation had been replaced. MMF is used to keep the TMJs aligned during the 3-4 week healing period. A longer healing period can result in scarring and permanent inability to open the mouth fully. 
  3. Post-Treatment Care: Esophageal tube feeding and use of a Kitty Kollar were essential components of post-treatment care to allow for feeding along with pain management medication.
  4. Follow-up: Regular follow-up, including imaging one year later, is important to verify progress. This annual follow-up is good medicine for all patients, even those without trauma. In a 2 million pet study, those with annual anesthetic dental procedures lived 20% longer than those without. 
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Post Surgery

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