Laurie's Blogs.


Jun 2012

TMJ Month

Hi folks!  Last month was crazy busy for me, and while it was wonderful to get to see and meet so many of you while lecturing & teaching, boy, it was a little exhausting.  But… enough about that!

Last month I saw 3 dogs all with TMJ (temporomandibular joint) issues subsequent to having a dental performed.  I am a big believer that the universe gives you multiple ‘similar’ messages as a method to ‘slap you upside the head’ to take notice!  So the correlation with TMJ dysfunction / pain and dentals was my ‘slap’!

The first little dog was a miniature poodle.  She had just come back from a spending a few months showing in the USA – and the handler in the States had a dental performed on her about a week before she was sent back home.  The caregiver on this end noticed a very ‘different’ dog, in that, she seemed sad or depressed, was not interested in food, and simply would not / could not each any hard kibble.  That little dog had the most painful (one-sided only) TMJ I have every seen!  Not only was she uncomfortable on palpation in and around the TMJ, but also when she opened her mouth, there was a click/clunk and the poor little thing would then press her head onto your lap or into the ground.  One treatment with GENTLE TMJ mobilizations (lateral deviations, lateral glides, and rostral glides) and laser saw her much better by the next day.  Two days later, when she returned for a follow up there were only mild pain responses, and that treatment yielded full functional improvement by the following day.

The next dog I saw was an older Sheltie that had 14 teeth extracted from his mouth 6 months earlier.  The only thing the owner noticed was a reluctance to pick up his ‘dumbbell’ (i.e. for obedience and scent hurdle), and she noted that he even seemed to have troubles selecting which dumbbell was his (something he had never had issues with before).  That little boy had the stiffest TMJ (unidirectional) I have ever seen or felt (it would have been a great one to have in class actually!).  Again, mobilizations (this time grade 3 or 4 mobs) and laser did the trick and he was discharged in two treatments.  His ‘sniffer’ seems to be back in working order again as well!

Lastly was a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel.  He only had 11 teeth extracted, just the week before! He was a little stiff (unidirectional) with TMJ movements.  And with mobilizations alone, he had improved mobility by the end of one session. 

Fascinating!!  Are you seeing a trend in that these are all little dogs??  Hmmm. Oddly enough, I also saw a 16-year-old Weimaraner that had some teeth pulled as well.  She had no TMJ issues.  It’s making me think, and I hope it makes you think as well.  Better check these small dogs after dentals!!

Until next time!