Cat Has a Swollen Jaw – How to Perform First Aid?


Oral pathology in cats is a rare phenomenon. Most often old or weakened animals face neoplasms, inflammatory processes and bacterial lesions of the mouth and jaw. If a cat has swollen jaw, it is difficult to diagnose and treat at home, so you should consult the vet. The results of x-ray examination will allow to draw conclusions about the nature of the swelling.

Diseases of Teeth and Oral Cavity

If a cat has a swollen jaw, its probable cause can be diseases of the oral cavity. In older cats we are talking about diseases of the teeth. With age, teeth begin to stagger, lose hardness, start to crumble. Any microcracks in the enamel lead to the development of a pathological process, which results in complete decomposition of the tooth. In cats the roots of the teeth are located deep in the gum tissue, therefore, the affection of the fang tooth by decay can lead to the formation of a seal in the lower jaw. Concomitant symptoms are:

  • refusal of food;
  • side turned jaw;
  • lethargy and weakness;
  • no pain when touching.

Usually animals that experience problems with teeth refuse to eat. The cat feels hungry and may try to draw attention to its bowl, but walk away when it is filled with food. This is due to the fact that chewing food causes pain. The structure of the swelling may tell a lot about possible causes. If a solid tumor is obvious when palpation and the cat escapes and does not allow to touch it, the possible reason may be a cyst of the mandible. This neoplasm can be caused by diseases of the teeth and is a growth of bone tissue in the lower jaw.

If there is a soft and heterogeneous structure, a possible cause is an abscess, the development of which is due to the presence of pathogenic microorganisms in the oral cavity. This happens when deep penetration of pathogenic agents into the root of the tooth. The abscess must be opened surgically, but there are cases when it breaks itself.

Fetid breath, red gums and a violation of due process of jaw movements during eating are the symptoms of diseases of the mouth and teeth in cats. This pathology is treated only surgically. It is required to remove decayed teeth, open an abscess or cyst. If the abscess opened itself, you should carry out antiseptic treatment several times a day to avoid secondary infection of the wound cavity. With surgical removal, the doctor necessarily prescribes antibiotics to prevent infection of healthy tissues of the oral cavity.

Malignant and Benign Tumors

Malignant tumors in the mouth of animals are a rare phenomenon. However, if the swollen jaw on cat older than 13 years is identified, cancer can be excluded only after a comprehensive examination of the animal. Specific symptoms of jaw cancer are usually absent. The animal can become sluggish, refuse to eat, but the same signs accompany abscess and problems with teeth. For accurate diagnosis, it is necessary to make an x-ray of the jaw and take a blood test to identify the inflammatory process. If the presence of a tumor is confirmed, an operation is performed to remove it, followed by tissue examination. In malignant tumors a course of chemotherapy is prescribed.

Malignant tumors are dangerous because they are rarely accompanied by visible symptoms. The tumor of the jaw at the beginning of its development manifests itself in the same way as the problems with teeth, but can cost a cat’s life.

In osteosarcoma and squamous cell carcinoma of the jaw, pain is strongly marked. The animal cannot chew, drink water, does not touch the affected area. In some cases, it may be necessary to feed the pet through a syringe. It is important not to try to treat the pet on your own, and to visit the vet it time.

Photo of Cats with Swollen Jaw

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Other Reasons

If a cat has swollen jaw on one side, it may be due to household injuries. When chewing solid food an elderly cat may accidentally scratch its lip. As a result, it will swell and at external examination it will look like a swollen jaw. Also, burns are manifested in such a way. Burns are common thing for animals who love to chew wires or try food on the stove. Despite the seeming innocuousness, domestic injuries should be treated. Any wounds and injuries are treated with antiseptics. In case of burns you should use special medications to accelerate healing.

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