BTS cannot open mouth - suggestions?

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BTS cannot open mouth - suggestions?

Postby Fatal_S » Tue Oct 08, 2013 7:14 pm

Yesterday I realized one of my skinks, Harris, can not open her mouth more than a crack.

History:
Harris is a 1 y/o northern. Has always been fat and sweet. Just over a month ago she seemed to start brumating (very early). She stopped eating and curled up in her moist hide and slept all the time. She's been losing weight, so I grew concerned. I decided to try waking her up by giving her warm baths and moving her into a different tank for a while (change of scenery). The move happened yesterday morning.

Yesterday:
When I put food into her tank in the evening she appeared very hungry, but started twitching her head around in the food. I took a closer look and she was unable to open her mouth enough to get food into it. All she could do was mush her face in and lick her lips. I tried prying open her mouth, but could not get it open more than a crack. It is quite stuck. Via prying we were able to get it to open a bit more than it had been, but still just a crack. Since she was obviously hungry I decided to syringe feed her.

Today:
I made an appointment with our reptile vet and took Harris in. The vet is quite stumped. We took x-rays, and nothing stands out as being wrong. Her bone density is good and there's no sign of an injury. Again, via prying we were able to open it slightly more than it had been before. The vet mentioned that there is an issue sometimes seen in dogs where a disease damages the muscle and it leaved scar tissue, so the dog is unable to open the mouth. She hadn't heard of this in reptiles, but is looking into it.

For now:
My instructions are to continue to assist-feed her, and every day pry open her mouth a bit more. The hope is that with regular stretching it will regain the ability to open fully. While I do this the vet is going to be looking into other ideas. If it doesn't improve we'll do some additional tests to see if we can find anything wrong.

If anyone has any ideas or thoughts, please let me know.

The x-rays:
2310_7503_20131008163220.0.jpg
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Re: BTS cannot open mouth - suggestions?

Postby Seadation » Tue Oct 08, 2013 8:18 pm

Can't offer much help but I hope he gets better. Maybe he has a bad case of TMJ.
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Re: BTS cannot open mouth - suggestions?

Postby Richard.C » Tue Oct 08, 2013 8:58 pm

Very odd,keep us posted,fingers crossed it all sorts out
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Re: BTS cannot open mouth - suggestions?

Postby Fatal_S » Wed Oct 09, 2013 7:59 pm

As a note: we found a way to assist-feed her today. We used the icing-tube method. Make some soft, mushy food, put it into a ziploc bag, cut a tiny piece off the corner, and use this to squeeze the food into her mouth. It works best when she's laying normally (when held she wasn't willing to swallow much).

It will be a few days yet before I can say if we're making progress, but we did manage to get a decent meal into her today :)
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Re: BTS cannot open mouth - suggestions?

Postby Richard.C » Wed Oct 09, 2013 9:15 pm

Handy trick

Its definatly an odd situation
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Re: BTS cannot open mouth - suggestions?

Postby Scotts1au » Thu Oct 10, 2013 12:03 am

interesting that from the xray - appears to be a white spot where the ear is located, this would also be around the temporo mandibular joint location. Would be interesting to know if it could indicate the location of an infection or calcification?????.
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Re: BTS cannot open mouth - suggestions?

Postby El Lobo » Thu Oct 10, 2013 12:48 am

Nothing to offer regarding the jaw problem.

I made this syringe when I had to do syringe feeding for rabbits. It is a bird feeding syringe which would normally have a crop needle screwed into the end. Instead of the needle I used a piece of IV tubing as it is soft and could be placed into the mouth without damage. It can also be placed across the mouth to avoid aspiration. The steel plunger allows a firmer mix to be passed through the narrow outlet.

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Re: BTS cannot open mouth - suggestions?

Postby Fatal_S » Thu Oct 10, 2013 4:03 pm

Scotts1au wrote:interesting that from the xray - appears to be a white spot where the ear is located, this would also be around the temporo mandibular joint location. Would be interesting to know if it could indicate the location of an infection or calcification?????.


I'm not sure which spot you're looking at - the small, very white dots near the center of the head in the over-head shot? The vet said those were calcium deposits. I will mention it to her though.

Nice syringe work, Lobo. I am a bit worried about stuffing too much food into her mouth and suffocating her. Last night she sat there with a mouthfull of food for several minutes before swallowing. I spent those minutes nervously poking her nose wondering if she was okay. It's nerve-wracking.

Thanks for the encouragement and suggestions.
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Re: BTS cannot open mouth - suggestions?

Postby Richard.C » Thu Oct 10, 2013 6:08 pm

Another option similar to norms but on a smaller scale os a pinky pump,used for feeding juvie snakes that reject pinkys
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Re: BTS cannot open mouth - suggestions?

Postby Scotts1au » Thu Oct 10, 2013 6:47 pm

Thanks Richard had to mention a pinky pump while I'm sitting here at work eating my lunch. :hurl:
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Re: BTS cannot open mouth - suggestions?

Postby Richard.C » Thu Oct 10, 2013 8:53 pm

Haha,sorry scott
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Re: BTS cannot open mouth - suggestions?

Postby Fatal_S » Fri Oct 11, 2013 7:26 pm

Early results, but I think we're making progress. We can definitely open it more than we were able to pre-vet. I'm using a plastic syringe-container to open it bit by bit. I'll take a photo when I can. I'm still not sure if she's more able to open it herself though, but time will tell.

Also, it turns out my gecko, who also went to the vet for a bump on his nose, has salmonella growing in there -.-' So no kisses for him.
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Re: BTS cannot open mouth - suggestions?

Postby Bird_Brain » Sat Oct 12, 2013 5:36 am

I'm of no help, but glad to hear there's improvement.

I did want to mention though that your gecko probably got the salmonella from you kissing it. Get some Orbit, you dirty mouth ;)
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Re: BTS cannot open mouth - suggestions?

Postby Fatal_S » Tue Oct 22, 2013 9:41 pm

She passed away today. She'd been showing some improvement, and was able to open her mouth about half-way. Cause still unkown, and I don't have the funds available to do a necropsy, so she's had a simple burial. Last night we spent a few hours together (I checked the computer, she wandered my bed to get some forced exercise, then she snoozed against my leg). She was a favourite, and I'll miss her more than I can say.

Rhino-nosed-gecko does not seem to be losing his horn, so it's looking like he might be in for some surgery to clean it all out. I'll update on him in the OT forum sometime. I haven't gotten salmonella yet :)
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Re: BTS cannot open mouth - suggestions?

Postby Scincoides » Tue Oct 22, 2013 9:43 pm

Im sorry to hear that Fatal. :(
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Re: BTS cannot open mouth - suggestions?

Postby donkeybuff » Tue Oct 22, 2013 10:07 pm

Sorry to hear that. At least you tried everything in your power to help her.
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Re: BTS cannot open mouth - suggestions?

Postby Fatal_S » Tue Oct 22, 2013 10:19 pm

I wanted to mention something from last night - she passed a urate, but no feces. Given that I'd been force-feeding her I found it strange that she didn't defecate too. Some of the signs (aside from the lock-jaw) seemed similar to impaction, thus why I'd been giving her warm baths and making her exercise. The vet said no impaction during the visit, but at the time the skink hadn't eaten in a while. I'm not the most well-versed on the internal workings of a skink - could impaction block feces while still allowing urates through?

Thank you for the kind words <3
Melanie J. Pratt
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Currently living at Mel's Exotics:
BTS: Northerns, Caramel Northerns, Meraukes, Irian Jayas, Silver Tanimbars, Yellow Tanimbars
AFTs: Wild-Type, Striped, Amelanistic, Caramel Albino, Patternless, White Out
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Re: BTS cannot open mouth - suggestions?

Postby El Lobo » Wed Oct 23, 2013 5:54 am

Sorry for your loss Mel. :hug:

Could the gecko have papilloma?
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Re: BTS cannot open mouth - suggestions?

Postby Pascal Paradis » Wed Oct 23, 2013 1:08 pm

Fatal_S wrote: could impaction block feces while still allowing urates through?




I would imagine in skinks like other lizards, the end of the alimentary canal and the urethra would only join near the end of the cloaca. http://universe-review.ca/I10-82-lizard.jpg

I had a skink who was trying to poop, tail and posterior legs raised, but only urate and liquid would come out and he kept that position for minutes. I realised he was suffering constipation and was only able to defecate few days later but renal wastes was easely evacuated each time he tried to poop. But if it was impaction, would he not reacted when you was handling him?
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Re: BTS cannot open mouth - suggestions?

Postby Lea » Sat Nov 02, 2013 2:49 am

I'm sorry, mel. That's really sad to hear. It's a shame you won't find out what really happened either, that makes it all the more tough.
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