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Compendium May 2008 (Vol 30, No 5)

Abstract Thoughts—Temporomandibular Joint Ankylosis in Dogs and Cats

by Joseph Harari, MS, DVM, DACVS

    Temporomandibular Joint Ankylosis in Dogs and Cats

    Maas CPHJ, Theyse LFH. Temporomandibular joint ankylosis in cats and dogs. A report of 10 cases. Vet Comp Orthop Traumatol 2007;20:192-197.

    Abstract: This retrospective study from a veterinary teaching hospital in The Netherlands presents the clinical features of temporomandibular joint (TMJ) ankylosis in five dogs and five cats. Trauma was the most common (five cases) cause of true ankylosis of the joint. Three cases of false, or extraarticular, ankylosis involved neoplasia: osteoma (two cats) and osteosarcoma (one dog). The patients ranged in age from 4 months to 11 years. Computed tomography with three-dimensional reconstruction was the most useful diagnostic imaging modality. Clinical signs included reduced mouth opening (decreased range of motion of the TMJ) and palpable firm swelling in the region of the TMJ. Animals were most frequently treated with resection of fibrotic tissue, condylectomy, or mandibulectomy. Four of five trauma cases and the two animals with osteoma had a good clinical outcome (good oral range of motion) months to years following surgery. The authors recommend early rehabilitation after TMJ surgery by feeding small amounts of food frequently and encouraging jaw motion by manual maneuvers or playing with toys.

    Commentary: TMJ ankylosis is an uncommon, yet highly morbid clinical condition in small animals. Fibrosis and destruction of the normal articular or periarticular tissues lead to a reduced range of joint motion and inability to open the mouth. Additionally, some patients have malocclusion and craniofacial malformation. In this review, the authors describe the clinical features of 10 cases in dogs and cats and the outcome following surgery. As expected, trauma was a major cause of the condition in young animals, while tumor-related ankylosis occurred in older animals. It is worthwhile to note that computed tomography, as opposed to traditional survey radiography, provided the most useful diagnostic information. The authors also comment that young animals with skull trauma are at risk due to rapid healing and the potential for fibrosis, along with clinicians' lack of awareness of this infrequent condition.

    Aromatherapy for Travel-Induced Excitement in Dogs

    Wells DL. Aromatherapy for travel-induced excitement in dogs. JAVMA 2006;229:964-967.

    Traditional treatments of travel-induced excitement (desensitization, antibarking devices, psychopharmacologic agents) can be time-consuming and expensive and have adverse effects. It is known that odors can promote psychologic well-being in humans; this study of 32 dogs measured the effect of diffused lavender inside automobiles. Two conditions were tested: one with no odor other than that of the natural environment, and one (experimental) with the ambient odor of lavender supplied via two flannel cloths sprayed with lavender oil and placed in owners' cars 30 minutes before testing. The dogs, which were studied for 3 consecutive days each in experimental and control conditions, were placed in the cars by their owners, who drove 20 to 30 minutes to usual walking locations. Videotaped behaviors of the dogs moving, standing, sitting, resting, and vocalizing were quantified as independent behaviors.

    Olfactory stimulation by lavender significantly in­creased sitting and resting times and reduced moving and vocalizing; no effects on standing were noted. No significant relation between behavior and sex, castration status, day, or order of exposure to each ­condition was observed.

    Key Finding:

    • The findings suggest that the odor of lavender may be useful in treating travel-induced excitement in dogs. Additional study is required to determine long-term effects on canine behavior and welfare and affected underlying motivational states.

    Degenerative Lumbosacral Stenosis in Dogs: Agreement of Computed Tomography, Magnetic Resonance Imaging, and Surgical Findings

    Suwankong N, Voorhout G, Hazewinkel HAW, Meij BP. Agreement between computed tomography, magnetic resonance imaging, and surgical findings in dogs with degenerative lumbosacral stenosis. JAVMA 2006;229:1924-1929.

    Preoperative evaluation via computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to localize and characterize degenerative lumbosacral stenosis lesions, thereby permitting precise surgery of the lesion with minimal disruption of surrounding areas, is useful only when results agree with surgical findings. This observational study compared results of radiography, CT, and MRI with those of surgery in 35 dogs (mostly companion animals) with degenerative lumbosacral stenosis. Degree and location of disk protrusion, position of dural sac, amount of epidural fat, and spinal nerve root swelling were assessed.

    Radiography, CT, and MRI detected lumbosacral step formation equally well; CT best identified the vacuum phenomenon. CT and MRI findings showed high agreement with each other, but agreement between diagnostic imaging and surgical results was only slight to fair. Differences in findings may relate to difficulties in assessing the degree of disk protrusion, distribution of epidural fat, and spinal nerve root swelling during surgery as well as differences in positioning for imaging versus that for surgery.

    Key Finding:

    • Substantial to near-perfect agreement between CT and MRI findings was found, but agreement between imaging and surgical results was only slight to fair. A lumbosacral step as small as 2 mm and a lumbosacral canal ratio greater than 0.5 may be clinically relevant.

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