Wednesday, March 11, 2009

The Face of Trigeminal Neuritis





Ummm, yeah - saliva is a bit of a problem.......

We have a diagnosis and I was right, it is Trigeminal Neuritis, or drop jaw. I posted a link on yesterday's update for a more in depth article, but it's basically a neurological disorder that can come out of the blue, or can result from injury or trauma. In Maizee's case it's out of the blue. It's a wait and see type thing and should go away in anywhere from two to 4 weeks. YAY! There's a slight chance it could be permanent, but it tends to be rare - so now we wait and see. Thankfully our vet is open to suggestion and wasn't at all bothered that I had shared the info I found with him - he wanted to check further and got back to me today and agreed that this is what we're dealing with.

So with my new found diagnostic capabilities I'm sure he'll be offering me a job in the clinic sometime soon.....Kidding, just kidding.

Thanks for all of you who got back to me with suggestions, and special thanks to Susan, who found the same article and called just when I was posting yesterday. I counted her as a second opinion, and she'll be joining me at the clinic too....God I kill myself - so damn funny.

The drama ends for another day and now it's off to watch Coronation Street - yeah, that's right Corrie.

UPDATE:

Today is November 3, 2009 and I thought I would update this entry. I thank everyone for their comments and hope everyone's dog has made a complete recovery.

Maizee's TN lasted about 3 weeks until she was able to begin eating on her own. I found there were residual effects in terms of her energy and zest for life - that just took longer (about a month), to get back to her "old self". I will never know what triggered the problem, but given what happened next, I am wondering if her system was just so compromised that it made the TN possible. Maizee had a few diagnosed health issues, Pannus and a Hemangiopericytoma on her left front leg. We had made the decision to amputate her leg this July as she would be cancer free without it. Hemangiopericytoma is a soft tissue, non life threatening, slow growing cancer that tends to return after removal, but tends not to spread, and usually affects the limbs, so amputation tends to be the answer when it comes to getting rid of it. Because she was part whippet/greyhound and continued to love to run, we chose to manage it with homeopathy, Rife treatments, supplements, a raw diet and keeping in constant contact with our holistic vet (Dr. Sharon Kopinak - the best vet in the world, in my estimation).

What we didn't know however, was that Maizee had a secondary cancer brewing on her spleen. It was a hemangiosarcoma. This is an insidious, fast growing/spreading cancer that usually kills within 2-4 months of starting. It was on Saturday, June 27th, we had brought Maizee with us to do grocery shopping. Leaving her in the car with windows rolled down and in the shade, it was no warmer than 17C and we were gone for 10 minutes. When we came back she seemed not quite right. My first thought was that someone had fed her something through the window, but we went home had supper, which she ate with her usual gusto, but still not very spry. Maizee had rallied by morning and we had a great walk, breakfast, then she laid down and spent most of the day sleeping. By evening she didn't want dinner, wasn't drinking and was lethargic. We called the vet and met him at the clinic. Maizee's belly was full of blood and we made the agonizing decision to help her cross over. Our in town vet, Dr. Morris (also a fabulous vet), figured it was an hemangiosarcoma that had probably burst resulting in the internal bleeding. He said that most of the cases he is seeing are at this stage, when it's too late. He has caught this earlier, been able to remove the tumor and spleen, had a look at the liver which was perfect, closed the dog up, but within a month the dog had died. When he has done the autopsy, the liver was covered in tumors - just shocking. We spoke to another vet and he had said basically the same thing, he had removed the original tumor, brought the dog in on a Tuesday to remove the surgical staples, but by Friday he had to euthanize the dog because it had spread so rapidly.

I don't know what role TN had in Maizee's life. We just took the illness on it's own and got through it, but was it a flag that something else was going on? Who knows? Had we caught the other cancer, by other accounts, we couldn't have prolonged her life for much longer anyway. I guess I could go on and on beating myself up and second guessing everything, but what it comes down to is, it was her time to go. I miss Maizee everyday and continue on the long path of grief, missing all 4 of the animals we lost this summer - Moses, Tessa, Maizee and Pippitt. I thought things were supposed to happen in 3's what the hell happened???? They must be having one heck of a party somewhere - I hope...

73 comments:

  1. I'm glad your dog is healthy, positive thoughts that it's not permanent. Nice job on your diagnosis.

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  2. Thanks Margot! I do see some improvement since this started, so I am hopeful that it's temporary. Maizee seems a bit brighter and has gone for walks these last few days too - still trying to find mice in the fields, so I know she's feeling better.

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  3. I'm surfing the net looking for info on TN as I'm fairly certain my dog Cooper has it.
    It came on overnight about 3 1/2 weeks ago. I'm hand feeding and watering him as it takes him too long to eat and he looks so frustrated in the process. Waterinig with a turkey baster is working well, but anyone that does it should make sure they don't force it down the dogs throat as they could get water on the lung without having the proper muscle control.
    At any rate, all other behavior is normal, and I'm hoping for a recovery soon. If not I'll be taking him to a vet that specializes in neuological issues.
    Thanks for posting the pictures. It helps to confirm what we are seeing.
    Hope Maizee is doing well.

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  4. My dog Lennon was diagnosed with TN yesterday. And yes it was also out of the blue.. I'm hand feeding him. He seems to be doing okay with drinking some water...but helping him with that too. His right eye is droopy also. Poor guy.. If anyone knows of any herbal meds that are useful please let me know. Never heard of TN!! Now I'll never forget it!! Thanks for all the great information!
    Tina

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  5. hello,

    my 1 yr old german shepherd was also diagnosed a couple of days ago with TN after having a MRI and spinal tap! Does anyone know how likely recovery is? Has your dog made a full recovery? Wishing you all the best!

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  6. My 5 year old Lab/Collie cross has just been diagnosed with TN she also suffers from Addisons disease. She has come home with a bandage type strap wrapped around the top of her nose to keep her jaw shut but still able to eat and drink with it, was told it could take 2-4 weeks or longer to recover hopefully it will be sooner.

    LC

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  7. hi there, just under a week ago my dog, Bruce(cocker spaniel) bashed himself. He was showing all the symptoms of TN, but we didnt know at the time it was this. He has had x-rays that show no breaks or fractures around the jaw so the vet kept him in overnight.
    He has been eating although taking his time, drinking is a problem, so we have been using a syringe.
    Hopefully this is temporary as he seems to be picking up over last day or so.
    Its nice to be able to read that we are not alone, and we really hope everyone has got improvement. Please let us know how you're getting on.

    vch

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  8. My 7 yr old golden retriever was diagnosed with trigeminal neuritis 5 days ago, following a flu type infection. He is responding well to the medication that the vet has put him on, and in a couple of weeks, the vet thinks he should show a marked improvement. His main problem is a droopy left eye giving him a rather bloodhound appearance on one side of his face, and a flaccid jaw making it difficult for him to drink (thankfully he can eat soft foods without too much trouble). He did have a paralysed tongue a few days ago, but fortunately its fine now, and he has full use of his tongue again. Other than that, he is in good spirits and enjoys doing all the things he used to like to do before getting the TN(except for eating his chews, which are currently off the menu !)
    JF

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  9. thanks for the post. Our dog suddenly came down with all of the symptoms that have been mentioned above, except that she can still eat (slowly, by tonguing wet food at little at a time) and drinking for what seems like 10 minutes. She wasn't dehydrated when we took her to the vet, and the vet had no clue what it might be until she called a specialist in Dallas who said it sounded like drop jaw.

    We haven't gotten any neurological tests, and 500 bucks later we find out it'll take more tests, so I'm thinking that we might just see if this corrects itself before we go and spend a fortune with MRIs and spinal taps.

    Anonymous @ 10-22: What medications were you prescribed? And anyone else, what was given to your dog to deal with this. So far our dog Roxy is on pain meds and prednisone.

    Has anyone else on here seen their dog recover after a period of time...? so that I can have some hope....

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  10. In regards to the Oct 3rd post. My baby Brooke was diagnosed with TN on the 15th of Sep. I didn't give her any meds other than love,food and water. On Oct 14th (about 4 weeks)she gained enough control to start eating by herself but I still hand watered her to ensure dehydration did not occur. As of now she seems to be back to normal other than her face still looks emaciated due to not using her facial muscles for a month and her right eye is still a little sunken. Hope this gives some positive outlook for ya. I send my best wishes to all who have a pet going through this.

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  11. i have a golden retreiver mix that just got diagnosed with tn, she is on some anti inflammatories and tlc. very scary i thought she had a stroke! doc sd 2 to 6 week recovery.

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  12. Hi All,

    Although your vet might want to prescribe prednisone, there isn't any proof (no conclusive studies) that it actually speeds recovery. Our vet knows I will do everything possible to avoid them, so he didn't even suggest Maizee take them. As TN ran it's course, the symptoms disapeared completely in about 3-4 weeks, but I found her energy low for about a month after that.
    My best advice is to keep helping your dogs eat and drink and they'll recover over a few weeks. You'll start to see improvement around the 2 wk mark and then slowly they'll get better.
    Thanks to everyone for sharing your stories and hopefully we'll help others with this diagnosis.

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  13. It makes me tear up to hear about the lost of your little ones. I am so sorry to hear about it.

    We have a sweet 10 year old lab mix who recently got diagnosed with TN. It started off with drooping lower eyelids and raised third eyelids (Horner's syndrome). The next day the dropped jaw showed and he started having difficulty eating and drinking. Before we took him to a neurologist neither of the two vets we visited knew what was wrong with him. Our dog was overall normal with blood work except for slightly elevated liver values. X-rays and ultrasound showed an enlarged spleen but no sign of cancer. On the eve before our neurologist visit I managed to guess correctly (after much researching) that it was TN. The neurologist confirmed the diagnose herself so we are currently waiting it out and babying our dog 24/7. I am curious though if lethargy is part of the symptoms. Our dog is currently sleeping a lot and may be age is getting to him but I worry it may be something else other than TN. Would appreciate any thoughts on this very much.

    Thank you for sharing your story!

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    1. our 7-yr-old bichon-poodle rescue was diagnosed with trigeminal neuritis after spending 4 nights in 2 different hospitals...he had been diagnosed with a "cold" on July 19,started antibiotics,and by Aug 2 could not close his mouth. MRI confirmed TN. He doesnt have much energy and sleeps a lot. His left eye is open now but the right is still drooping. so frustrating. He's been feeling bad for 3 weeks now. Hoping he'll start improving. Thanks to everyone for their input and suggestions

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  14. My dog recently started to show all the signs of this..he had the dropjaw drool unable to eat.. And drinking constantly.. took him to the vet diagnosed a stroke?! is it possible the vet is wrong? they have been giving him steroid shots everyday... And said they could not give them more than 4 days.. They said if he does not show signs of improvement on 4th day he has no quality of life..and to put him down?!... Its only been a week he is eleven yrs old... Please help!! did you literally have to force feed your dog because mine will not eat unless I inject a syringe of liquid food in his mouth.. If anyone has suggestions or answers I would love to hear them..

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  15. Hi Felicia,

    The vet could be wrong...Does your dog have the usual energy, but the only problem is the drop jaw? How extensive is the paralysis? Maizee could still eat if I helped her because she could move her tongue. I placed the food toward the back of her tongue, held her head up and let her move the food down her throat on her own (she was on a raw food diet, so it was all ground up and soft, if you feed kibble, I would soak it in water then blend it and feed as I did - whole kibble would be too much work because they can't chew). Drinking was another matter though, and I did use a syringe.

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  16. Our 4 yr old Golden Retriever is experiencing some of these same symptoms..We do not have a positive diagnosis as yet.. but while surfing the net I came to this web. He is having difficulty eating..tremendous salivating.. food turns to soup.. He laps water but gets very little down. He is active and wants to be normal in every way but it is obvious he is not well at this point. He also has a swollen jaw. There was blood in his water bowl...but I found a wound on his inner cheek which he is lost feeling he could have bitten his cheek. He is on antibiotic and benedryl in case it was a bee sting.. He also was bitten by 2 ticks on each side of his jaw.. Any information anyone has please rsvp.. He had blood work up and head and chest xrays which showed nothing. It is sad to this vibrant golden so sick.. :(

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  17. My 9 yr old rat terrier was diagnosed yesterday with TN, one vet said it was a stroke and gave steriods,and said if not better in 5 days he would euthanize him, I took him research that I had done online and he laughed at it and threw it in the trash, my precious rattie is still happy and full of life, so I took him to another vet and gave him my same online findings and he agreed with me, and now we are doing IVs and sub Q for water and soft food. I hope he rebounds from this. I am just not ready to give up on this little fellow he has been my best friend for along time. He is sleeping alot more than usual.

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  18. After 6 trips and 5 different vets our Boxer Jada was diagnosed with Trigeminal Neuritis. She was diagnosed first with Entropion, then Horner's Syndrome,Enocinphillic Myositis, and finally after a two hour trip and over night stay at a veterinarian college we were told she had a weak esophagus muscles and trigeminal neuritis. 10/15/10 was 6 weeks. She seems to feel fine other than the fact that she has lost all of her facial muscles and she has a very hard time keeping food down. Thankfully she was a bit overweight and needed to lose a little. So far she has only lost 4 lbs. We were told it would run its course and she would be fine,but I have to say after 6 weeks I am beginning to wonder. Has anyone else experienced the problem with megaesaphogus? We were not given any medication because she had a bad reaction to the prednisone after the second diagnosis. Please let me know if anyone has experienced similar problems. I hope everyone has had a speedy recovery and wish all of you well.

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  19. My Boxer peanut was diagnosed with TN yesterday.This came on sudden and unexplained, just woke up with it. She is not on any meds bur she is still able to eat (albeit messy) and drink.
    Im actually feeding her raw hamburger in meatballs now because she doesnt have much control over her tongue.The vet wants us to have an MRI done on her to check and see that its not a tumour causing the problem but I dont see the point because if she does have cancer really what hope is there.
    Im just hoping the TN diagnosis was correct and it rights itself within 4 to 6 weeks. One positive sign today though was that she went to her toybox and got her favourite toy out to play with! Heres hoping.

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  20. I have had the same problem with my mastiff. We did not know what was going on. Suddenly, his eyes drooped, he had labored drinking and eating(drooling and food falling out of his mouth). We took him to the vet yesterday and they gave him steorids to see if that will help. They don't know what this is. They have done xrays to look for anything out of the ordinary and can not find anything. He was however,diagnosed with bladder cancer a year ago. After reading all of these postings, I am going to give him his medication for 10 days to see if there is a change and hopefully it will work. I will keep you posted.

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  21. thanks for all the comments. My dog started to have all the symptoms last friday,the vet didnt know anything and told us to go to a neurological-vet.We go there on wednesday,but really sounds like our sweet dog has this TN, and I keep my fingers crossed its gone in 2-3 weeks. So good that u folks had been writing about it online,because in my mothertongue I didnt find anything.
    My dogs symptoms are:hanging jaw,tongue a little bit out,she can eat(but a little bit slower),but she can hardly drink any water.Otherwise she is fine.doctor gave her cortisone,so now she is quite sleepy. I put her water and food-bowls higher from ground,so it would make eatin/drinkin easier.

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  22. My 2-1/2 year old Boxer exhibits what I think is TN. Here is the path we've gone down:
    Jan 5, 2010, Noon: Our normally playful pup retreated to her bed and slept nearly non-stop for 24 hours.
    Jan 6: Jaw was hanging slightly open. Made a slight mess eating. water bowl had some saliva.
    Jan 8: Jaw now fully slack. Unable to eat wet foot - takes a lick then runs as if scared, dribbling food everywhere; water bowl now full of foamy saliva. Made a raised food/water dish holder out of plywood for her. Took her to the vet. vet unsure of diagnosis, prescribed prednisone 2x daily and antibiotics. Dog is sleeping a lot, lethargic, unable to chew rawhide bones, not willing to play.
    Jan 9-16: Meds are slowly working; seeing continuous improvement each day. jaw is closing by the 16th and she is playing again. Still unable to chew rawhides. Seems like we are getting our puppy back again.
    Jan 17: Ran out of prednisone & antibiotics. Dog seems fully recovered.
    Jan 17-20: Dog is normal
    Jan 21-23: Jaw is hanging slightly slack again, growing worse each day. Back to messy eating and lethargy.
    Jan 24: Back to the vet, they run blood tests. Vet still not convinced of TN. Dog's face is hanging slightly slack - bone at top of head beginning to show, flesh over brow bones thinning out. Entire face is thinning, lower lids of eyes drooping. Pupils are uneven and not responding to light equally.This is especially noticeable in flash pictures where dog's eyes are reflected. Vet sends us home with twice as much prednisone and eye drops for wetting (dog is no longer blinking).
    Jan 26: vet calls, blood tests show no cancer or other problems. Vet says problem is probably a benign, but fatal, mass growing at the back of the brain. We decline expensive MRI and neurology work-up. Neither will cure the problem & we will still get to 'point B' with or without these diagnostic tools. We will keep her comfortable until we know it is time to say goodbye.
    Jan 27-Feb 24: With prednisone and eye-drops dog is very slowly improving. By the 20th of Feb we are beginning to believe vet is wrong, there's nothing sick about this dog. She is back to chewing bones, playing. She is gaining weight because the prednisone increases her appetite. We let her eat whenever she wants now - what does it hurt if she won't live much longer?
    Feb 25: Spotted the first sign of blindness in one eye. There is a white mass in the pupil and the cornea is becoming misshapen.

    Feb 26, Today: We don't know how this will end. It has been a hard road for us.

    Sheila

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    1. I agree. this is a rare disorder and the vets just don't see it very much...hopefully some of these posts will help other dogs and their owners and their vets. i know these have been a source of encouragement to my husband and me. the thought of euthanizing ran through our minds and it's heart-wrenching. Reading these stories has given us hope. Thanks to all who have shared their experiences in dealing with this terrible disorder

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  23. Brenda in Portland, ORMarch 27, 2011 at 12:46 PM

    Our lab mix, Bart, was diagnosed with TN five days ago. Two vets, two breeders, and the rescue organization had never heard of it. After much research and help from our local pet store, we have found many things that are helping him. First, we are feeding him Honest Kitchen dehydrated all-natural food; I add just enough water to make a paste out of it, then roll it into balls and place them in the back of Bart's mouth so he can swallow them. Second, since he can't drink on his own and his urine was becoming darker, we are now hydrating him with gelatin blocks made from low-sodium chicken broth, water, and Knox. He loves them! These I also handfeed and place in the back of his mouth. Third, we started acupuncture on him two days ago. No noticeable improvement after the first treatment, but we have another scheduled for this week. Acupuncture worked miracles on our greyhound with rear leg weakness, so we are hoping it will also help Bart kick the TN sooner than later. Lastly, I will be calling a canine chiropractor tomorrow for a consult. May be a longshot, but we feel it's worth the try to help our bubbly little guy who we only adopted just two weeks ago today. Good luck everyone!

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  24. Thank you everyone for sharing your stories; they make so much difference for those of us just now going through this. Our 10 yr old lab mix just got diagnosed with idiopathic TN. It started after he had a Purina Busy Bone, but I don't know if there is any relationship there. Things have been getting worse over the past two days, and I'm hoping he will stabilize soon. This is very scary.

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  25. Recovery! Ira (our 10 year old lab mix) first moved his mouth a week ago. At first I thought I imagined it, but it got a little better every day, and now he can drink by himself quite well. The vet said keeping him so well hydrated made a big difference. We fed him TONS of chicken jello and dog food jello (Knox unflavored gelatin made with a little low-sodium chicken broth and chicken or kibble). The jello was very easy to push down his throat, and one packet delviers a full cup of water. We also build him a jaw support out of bicycle tire inner tube, and that helped him eat alone. Don't give up!!!!

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  26. Very sadly, our lovely old Ira died two weeks ago, after having a stroke. However, every moment of the three additional months we got to spend with him after the TN was absolutely worth it. We miss him terribly, and we're SO GLAD we didn't give up when he had the TN. Stephanie

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  27. My 2 year old Labradoodle has just been diagnosed with TN. Luckily my vet knew what it was right away. We hand fed and got water into him by squeeze bottlefor the first 3 days and then I took him back to the vet after hearing that Prednisol was sometimes used and it has been wonderful. The vet gave him a shot in the office and by that evening he was able to eat without help. He is still having trouble with water but 4 days after we started treatment he is doing much better. We start to ween him off in 2 days so we will see what happens then.

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  28. Sorry should have said Prednisone.

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  29. Our 3 year old English Springer Spaniel was recently diagnosed with TN. Our vet was initially stumped. While Mr. O was in the clinic that day I turned to the internet and to our breeder. I forwarded information on TN to the vet office. His procedure was to rule out other possibilities but concluded it was TN. We are only on day 3 after diagnosis, he is on predisone but there has been no change. I found it interesting that the University of WI Vet School has only seen one case of TN, yet there is so much action on this site. I wonder if anyone is compiling histories in an attempt to pin down the cause. Such would make a good doctoral candidate thesis!

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  30. An update on Otto: This morning we discovered the likely cause of Otto's Trigeminal Neuritis was an application of K9 Advantix II. Please, I urge you, do not use this. It can cause nerve damage- permanent nerve damage- so please... if you must, use Frontline instead.

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  31. Shelia's story is so sad. I hope all is ok with our goldendoodle. Tomorrow we go to the vet, I think she has TN. I used justanswers.com and it was well worth the $18 for some temporary piece of mind til we can see our vet. I am concerned about a few things though; we had her vaccinated for rabies for the first time in 7 yrs (she is 8) in april and since then she has developed numerous noncancerous tumors (fatty cysts) all over her mid secton. She also has always been a bit of a head shaker. Anyway, if it turns out to be tn I will post updates. Keep sharing your knowledge folks, it helps to know. I off to make chicken broth jello drops for Tessa. I know she'll love them.

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  32. Thanks everyone for posting this information. Our beloved lab was diagnosed today with TN, after a totally worthless trip to the emergency vet this past weekend. My husband found this blog and we showed up armed with good information, thanks to all of you. Champ has not been given Prednisone, but I'm curious if that has worked for most of you? Interestingly enough, the owner of the vet practice we use had a golden retriever that also had TN. Lucky for Champ!

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    1. Update on Champ - he's healed! Champ had a bout of TN that lasted for about 6-7 weeks. We didn't put him on anything, just let it get better over time. Probably the best tip on here is the flavorless jello. Our Champ is a HUGE water drinker, and the jello was a life saver. Thanks to all for the info!

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  33. My Dog, Chloe was diagnosed with TN 3 days ago. At first the vet was stumped, spoke with a nurologist in Portland. He , our vet, had heard of TN but had never seen it. 5 days ago my husband said he thought Chloe was not feeling well. So now she is on prednisone and we are feeding & watering her with a 35cc syringe.Is there pain with TN? The sad part is our son gave her to us 5 yrs. ago, a beautiful fawn colored Pit Bull. The sweetest girly dog ever! We lost our son 7 months ago. That's the sad part. So now we are nursing Chloe. Sure hope she gets better.

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  34. Thank you all for sharing your stories. It has helped me. I hope Chloe and all the dogs posted on this site get better too. Last Wednesday , my darling Norfolk terrier had an open mouth but could chew and play with her toys. Since Thursday, she's been on wet food and can drink -sloppy drinking eating is ok. Took her to my vet who took a blood sample and xrays. Everything was normal - but she has TN which came out of nowhere. He diagnosed it fairly quickly (AMAZING VET - very caring and helpful). Because it is not severe (and she has a valve condition, the vet didn't recommend predisone) She moves her tongue normally and only drooled on Thursday/Friday- her tongue isn't hanging out. She is perky and barks and will even try small pieces of soft treats. I have noticed that she isn't trying to drink as much (but I have put some water in her wet food). I heard this can last 1-3 weeks- a bit surprised to see it as 2-6 weeks. Is there a full recovery from this? I read that there are exercises/physical therapy - does anybody know what this involves?

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  35. Cleo just diagnosed w/ITN-all symptoms. Want to be sure to keep her hydrated and appreciate jello info, etc. How about ice chips or shaved ice? A rottie liked snow to eat--snow cones anyone? Also, "Thick-It" is used to thicken beverages for people having difficulty handling liquids. Just a thought. Penny

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  36. Just to offer you some hope - I wrote about my dog in Dec- symptoms disappeared after about 2 weeks. In the meantime, she started coughing (actually horking) with phlegm. Thought she had aspirated something and came down with pneumonia (perhaps- it was inconclusive). It really can get better though. Just finishing up antibiotics and the coughs are almost non existent (decreasing each day) And she is about 95% better and no congestion. When she had difficulty with drinking- I switched her to wet food and put some water in it - although I have heard that wet food has enough moisture in it. I really hope that Chloe gets better very soon- hang in there

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  37. Jen, thank you for the pictures! My 5 yr old boxer started a week ago (1/29) with her jaw hanging just a little. By the next morning it was a bit worse and I took her in to the vet. They couldn't find anything. We tried deramaxx to see if it would help. By that Wednesday she really started having trouble eating, and we were back at the vet's Thursday. The vet still wasn't sure what was going on, but suspected an inflammed nerve. She was given a steroid shot, dexasone, which gave her some relief. And a complete blood panel was done. Blood work came back near perfect.

    While I was home waiting on her lab work I started researching and found your blog. Because of the pictures I was sure we dealing with the same thing. I called the vet's office and asked him to look into this diagnosis. I got the call back and he agreed. Thankfully with steroids my Arabella is able to lap up water, but chewing food is a no go. I got canned food and run it thru a blender with some water and she can lick it up out of a raised bowl. The only issue is she swallows air while she eats so I can only feed her 1/2 a can at a time or she spits up like an infant. We have made it thru our first week and I am hoping for a quick recovery. Her favorite thing to do is play fetch with her tennis ball, but right now she really can't hold on to it. I feel so bad for her. She did get a new stuffing free toy that she can pick up and carry around and we can play fetch with that for now.

    Again, thank you Jen for this blog. I fear I would be at the neurologist tomorrow scared to death if I didn't come across this.

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    1. So glad it helped gatorblu! If you can feed her by hand - tilt her head back slightly and deposit small amounts of food near the back of the tongue, it will help. Water is a bigger issue. If you don't have syringes, try using a straw. Insert straw in water, put your thumb over the hole and insert in mouth off to the side and release the water slowly to give her time to swallow, or just give her very small amounts. Take care and best wishes to you and your girl!

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  38. Thank you all so much! My dog Hoagie was diagnosed 3 days ago with TN. We are feeding and watering him with a syringe. He is a 95 pound German Sheppard and is not thrilled with this method of feeding! I will try these suggestions as I feel I am stressing him out with eating and drinking!

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  39. Update on Hoagie...I soaked his kibble for about 20 minutes in a lot of water and then put it through the food processer - rolled it in little balls - popped them in the back of his mouth...SUCCESS!!!! He thought they were treats - and ate them up with no problem! Tail wagging and all.

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  40. I took my dog (boxer/husky 7 years old) to the vet about a month ago with all the symptoms of TN, plus his Lymph nodes were swollen and he had a slightly elevated fever. My vet had no clue what was going on. They did an X-Ray and tentatively diagnosed him with Lymphoma. They put him on Prednisone and he improved a lot. He can eat, by making a huge mess and I help him drink out of a livestock nursing bottle. The muscles on his head have definitely atrophied and his eyes are very droopy. This will be four weeks this weekend and he is gaining weight and still eating. I am hoping it resolves itself. I may be going to another vet for a second opinion. My vet wanted to send me to a specialist that would cost me $1500 just for walking through the door. My husband and I definitely cannot afford that.

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  41. Dog of mine seems to have this problem TN, Been three days hope he gets over it,looks to me as if he can use his mouth a bit,He just turn four, He's huskey wolf and the rest of the northen breeds, Never seen this before,he can bite down and drag a bone but cant chew it.elevated his water but makes a mess.Choppen his food up beef,pork chicken,His peers want the same but they can chew.seems to be happy, but cant tell me whats wrong. Wish we all new why this is.

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  42. Thanks for the info everybody as it very alarming when our loved ones jaw drops and can't eat or drink and eyes are droopy. Our precious 7 year old malamute lab developed red eyes with raised lower lids. Eye steroids and 4-5 days later full recovery. A month later one day his mouth was slightly dropped by the next day right open. His attempts to eat and drink with an open jaw resulted in a big mess of drool and limited success swallowing. He seems happy to try to eat or go for a walk and shows so major discomfort. The vet thinks its TN or autoimmune myositis (muscle inflammation) where his body attacks the muscles of chewing. Reading has told me however the autoimmune disorder is mainly the inability to open the jaw and rarely open jaw. However the eye problems are also a symptom.He had a normal blood test with slightly higher levels of something to do with the liver. 6 days after his jaw dropped his eye problems are back (very droopy lower lids called Horner syndrome). Now at day 7 his eyes are a bit worse especially in the left. We have been able to keep him fed with soaked food which we made balls in our hand and placed in the mouth then manually closed his mouth and he swallows. Also blended carrots as he loves them but got tired of them. Now I mix alot of water with his food in a measuring cup and tilt it at his head height and he is able to get lots of water and food by resting his jaw in the tilted cup and sloping it up. He never like the milk ice or carrot ice much but i will try the gelaton as he only wants to water if its got food in it.

    The desc-ion now is wither to get him steroids in case its auto immune myostis to prevent possible permanent muscle loss but risk dehydrating him and other negative effects.

    Glad to hear your stories as they provide in valuable info and hope.

    If your reading this please take the time to post. It helps us do our Vets jobs :P

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  43. 4 days ago my 10 yr old Boston developed severe drooling of thick mucus on the left side only. No visable eye or jaw drooping her gums apper fine but she has some swelling along her inside upper jaw line. Her teeth look fine no gum discoloration, or signs of tooth infection.Occassionaly she coughs and spits up small amounts of frothy mucus.Could this be early TN ? So far she appears to be eating and drinking normally but I will pay attention to hydration issues. Any other suggestions?

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  44. Our dog Oakley, a five year old Lab was diagnosed with TN about 3 weeks ago. He is improving slowly but still requires water and food support. Just a trick that worked well for us if any of you would like to try it. We used a large rubber band or two hair ties tyed together, to assist him in eating on his own. It kept the jaw together just enough to hold in chunks of wet food but apart enough to allow him to pick up and bite at the food and breathe. Good luck to all of you, this is a heartbreaking experience but have patience.

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  45. sage was diagnosed with E.Coli poisining which has aparently triggerd a case of TN. She's a big girl @ 120Lbs Lab Akita cross. Food is not too much of an issue;we just mixed dry kibble and vet canned food in the mixer,rolled them into meatball szed balls and pop them in her mouth. Water however, she needs over 3 liters a day,giving her water by a 2 oz syringe is almost a full time job.
    reading alot about muzzle bands, do they help with drinking, how big where do you put them on the muzzle?

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  46. I've been there. Dreadful. I feel for you all. We've come through. There are some tips on my page here (you'll probably have to copy and paste): http://roselle-angwin.blogspot.co.uk/2011/10/slack-jaw-syndrome-in-dogs.html

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  47. 4 year old Golden Retriever just diagnosed with TN which also included Horners Syndrome. Examined by canine ophthalmologist for cataract assessment and was giving (as prescribed) 1 drop of Voltaren 0.1% twice a day. The vet thinks the two are unrelated but last Saturday she had some very odd symptoms following the drop so I have stopped them. She can eat very small kibble with yoghurt to moisten (and little water). I made up some Jello and it works very well - put cubes on back of her tongue and down it goes. Water drinking is a challenge slops everywhere - changing water often throughout the day. No change in energy level. Some jaw slackening but I was teaching her to smile...:<...so now I think my success was a result of jaw dropping!!

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  48. Our 4 year old Newf cross is in the same boat - Vet diagnosed her with TN - made the same suggestions as everyone here (but no mention of steriods - contraindicated, apparently) I wanted to know how quickly the condition appeared - we were thinking it's been fairly mild for probably 3 days or so (with a jowly face, we didn't notice her jaw had dropped) and I mistakenly thought her irritated eye was the beginning of 'cherry eye'... now I can see that it's a fairly common side-effect. If we are on her 4th or 5th day, is it likely that her symptoms will level off, or will it get worse? Today her jaw is more open - it's heartbreaking to see -

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  49. December 9/12 - Update about 4 year old Golden Retriever - post dated December 1/12. Just over a week since I last posted and I am very happy to report that my girl is back to drinking water as she should. No more problems noted with drinking. Her lower eyelid continues to droop but I can see it is slowly improving. She obviously has a very mild case of TN (thank goodness). The jello worked well but I think an unflavored gelatin would be better - could use broth instead of water during prep. I think patience is the key...

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  50. My 3 year old Kelpie X was just diagnosed today with TN. Luckily she doesn't have the jaw problems, but has a very bony head and her eyes look terrible. She is now on steroids (20mg prednisone for 1 week, then 10mg)and we are hoping she starts to improve asap... we're worried. She is still eating and drinking. Wishing everyone's dog well.

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  51. I want thank everyone who has posted on this blog about their pup's experience with TN. It was immensely helpful to us - both to diagnose the problem (after $400+ of vet bills with no diagnosis) and to treat it (again, it was here that we learned about chicken jello, the miracle hydrator!). Here's our story in brief:

    One day I noticed that Tiramisu, our 4 yr old shepherd X, seemed to be smiling an awful lot. Every time she looked at me, she was smiling - you know, with her mouth a bit open. I also noticed that when I fed her a treat, she didn't even try to chew it - just swallowed. And the water dish was messy. Then my husband came back from a dog walk saying that she was foaming at the mouth. I looked at her snout and realized that the lower part was all slack. Off to the vet.

    She was x-rayed for possible fracture and kept under observation by the vets for a day. They hydrated her sub-cutaneously. They said it could be masticular myositis ands suggested blood testing for that. They also thought it could be some nerve-related problem, but were vague and uncertain about that. Never mentioned TN. We brought her home with Prednisone and the equipment for sub-cutaneous hydration as well as special canned food that we were to mix with water to create a slurry. (This was useless in the end as she couldn't lap it up - jello and hydrated kibble worked beautifully.) I got on the internet immediately and within an hour had diagnosed the problem, learned that it usually resolves in 2-3 weeks, and found out about jello and other godsends for coping with it.

    We fed her by spoon (jello, hydrated kibble, and her favourite, cooked sweet potato) for two weeks, at which point she was able to lap up water and food herself - gradually improving over the period of a week or so. By 3 weeks, she was starting to chew her rawhides again. By 4 weeks, she was back to normal.

    Along with prednisone, she was prescribed a couple of stomach protecting medicines. And of course we had to wean her off the prednisone carefully.

    Possible cause/trigger: a day or two before we noticed her slack jaw, she was running in the woods with a huge stick (a branch, actually) and we heard a yelp - the branch hit trees and almost surely she sustained a minor trauma to her mouth/jaw. No fracture on the xray, but we wonder it that incident triggered the TN. Also, we had just got back from a 10 day holiday leaving her in the care of a stranger so she was pretty stressed.

    Thank you so much to everyone who posted here! It was so scary before we figured out the problem and read about how to cope with it. Tira is now back to full health.

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  52. My rottie was diagnosed with TN 2 wks ago. He has been stressful with feeding & drinking from a syringe not to mention messy for both of us. After reading the blogs here about making his food into mini meatballs & feeding him gelatine for water we are mess free and happy. He acts better eating from his elevated dog dish. He can blink a little but the jaw is still dropped. He has lost 8 lbs. in the 2 wks. The vet says most of that is muscle loss. My vet diagnose him within 24 hrs. He has never seen a case in his 28 yrs of practice but had known about and that was fortunate for us. Our vet sees him every Mon and examines him head to toe. My rottie's head is all sunk in from loss of muscles poor thing looks pityful. But what a change in his mood after being fed this new way. Thanks to all who have shared their experience because you have helped us alot!

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  53. Update on my rottie: took him to a vet that says he has seen TN and he said my rottie had cancer, brain tumor. He did this evaluation in about 5 min. Today I've sent my rottie to The Life Center for a MRI. I know it will set me back financially but I need an answer. It seems his left side is worse than his right and his back left leg is limping now. I will let you know what comes of the MRI. We are now finishing up with week 4. Still can't eat or drink on his own.

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    1. I'm so sorry to hear this. An MRI will hopefully give you some answers. Hugs to you and your boy and let me know how it goes.

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  54. didn't do the MRI,Life Center said brain cancer. His left eye is fixed and his left nostril is congested. Has anyone experienced this with TN. I hate to think my 6 yr old boy is going to die.

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  55. My boy died today May 27, 2013 as it was brain cancer that was pushing on the trigeminal nerve causing the trigeminal symptoms. He was so young and such a great rottweiler.

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  56. I am so, so sorry for your loss. It's never easy, but when they go so young, it's doubly hard. Sometimes surrounding them with love is the only thing we can do for them and you certainly did that. My heart aches for you and hope you can find comfort in remembering his healthier, happier days.

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  57. I wanted to share our experience with TN - Clyde is a female mixed breed, who with her sister Bonnie are the love of our lives. Several months back, Clyde started rubbing her face on the carpet or anything for that matter after she ate or drank anything. Our vet diagnosed her as having allergies and had us start giving her benadryl. Her symptoms did not improve. In fact she started displaying new symptoms like sneezing very hard (so hard that she would from time to time hit her nose on the ground). Her left eye started to droop and her third eye lid would not go down. When she would go outside or get excited she seemed however to loose all of her symptoms. Took her to the vet and again she was diagnosed as having allergies. This did not sit well with me so I took her to a pet hospital. As stated prior when she would go out or become excited she would "loose" her symptoms so no sooner did we get to the pet hospital she appeared to be symptom free. The staff their suggested that it was an air born allergy so we tore the house apart and gave it a major cleaning and laundered all of her bedding etc. She still displayed all of her symptoms while at home so after several days I took her back to the Pet Emergency room and had a doctor look at her. It was then that she was diagnosed as having "issues" other then allergies. He discovered that she had partial face paralysis on her left side. It was effecting her eye and mouth. He gave us a name of a neurologist to go see. We scheduled an appointment for the very next day. He examined her, ran blood tests, did a spinal tap, and conducted an MRI. The blood work came back good and so did the spinal tap. Her MRI on the other hand showed that there was an inflammation of the 5th nerve between her eyes. Because of where it was located there was no way to conduct further tests to see what it was. He decided to go with giving her Prednisone. After a week of being on the medication Clyde was symptom free regardless of if she was home or out side. We treated her with the medication for 4 weeks and then did another MRI. The MRI came back clean! Nothing what so ever of concern. It was even viewed by other doctors to make sure nothing was being missed. She was given a clean bill of health and we were very happy. Then a week ago she started to display symptoms similar to before but this time it was on her right side. Again her vet stated it was allergies but also noted that there was a bit of conjuctivitis in her right eye. We were given an ointment to put in her eye for 5 days 2 times daily. While this took care of the conjuctivitis, Clyde still was displaying symptoms similar to before but now had a slight droop to her jaw with the tip of her tongue sticking out. She stated to have some issues with eating and drinking but was able to on her own, it just took her longer. She started being really tired. Once outside or excited - symptom free. Took her back to the neurologist and she was given the official diagnosis of TN. He is stumped as her symptoms are outside of the norm. We are going to treat her again with the Prednisone and "get her back to normal" and then may start another medication to attempt to prevent it from reoccurring. With the spinal tap and blood work coming back normal he does not think that it is a cancer and with no other signs of a virus, does not think that it is brought on by a virus. I have heard that Heartgard and Advantix II have been know to cause this and she has been on both. He could not confirm or deny that they could be a cause but suggested that we talk with her vet as to other medications to use instead of those.

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  58. I am very sorry for those who have lost thier beloved pets. I have a 10 1/2 yr. old Springer Spaniel who is the best dog we have ever known. He was showing signs of TN about 2 weeks ago so we took him to our vet who wants more tests done including an MRI and spinal tap. We did have all the blood work done which came back good. We are not going to to do all the other tests because we feel that if they come back positive for a tumor or cancer we wouldn't put him through surgery. He has hip displacia and has found a way to get around quite nicely with the bad hips. He is a very smart dog and knows that something isn't right. His symptoms are dropped lower jaw, sunken eyes, drooling and sleeping alot. He does eat and drink but is very messy and leaves saliva in his bowls. We change the water often and give him water occassionally with a turkey baster. I even help him eat by holding his lower jaw and letting him take the food out of my hand. He has lost some weight but probably due to not eating regularly. This has been going on for a few weeks and we feel that by helping him eat and drink that is the best we can do for him. He still is active and does not seem to be in any pain. When we mentioned TN to our vet she said to stop reading on the internet, but by reading all theses posts I believe he has TN. Rick

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  59. I just wanted to say thank you for all who've posted about Trigeminal Neuritis. It was helpful to read others' posts while going through it with my dog, a 3.5 yr old pit mix.

    It started when she was sick with an urinary infection. She also was having stomach issues, due to swallowing a bone fragment. I thought she was on the mend, after antibiotics & passing the bone. Ultrasound made me nervous when it showed a large spleen & cloudy stomach/internals. Then, I noticed lower jaw teeth were showing. At first we thought it was funny like she was smiling. Then, we worried when lower lip seemed swollen. Later that week, I noticed it was taking her longer to eat & she was leaving lots of drool in her water bowl. She also licked her chops excessively one day. She was lethargic & had a depressed demeanor. Back to the vet we went, when she was diagnosed with TN. Vet advised we could give her steroids, but discouraged it because there's no proof it actually helps & most cases go away on their own. She advised it could be temporary (possibly due to weakened immune after recent illnesses) or permanent (due to tumor). We could do extensive ($$) testing, but they might not help determine anything when, again, it might just clear up on its own. She prepared me that she might need a feeding tube, but reassured me dogs adjust quickly to those. Although difficult, I chose to just wait it out.

    It takes patience & positive attitude, but hang in there! Week 1 no improvement. Jaw dropped more, but seemed in better spirits. She lost muscle in face/head & looked skeletal. Skull looked pointy on top. Week 2 & 3, thought I was losing her. She was so lethargic. Eyes were extremely droopy. One night, one eye was half shut & her third eyelid half raised. After that terrible night, things started to turn around. Week 3 & 4, she accidentally bit my finger when feeding! She started scratching her jaw (meaning she had some feeling in it again!). I slowly weaned her off of how much she was hand fed & increased amount she was eating on her own. End of week 4, recovered!! Throughout those 4 weeks, I spent a lot of time with her. I gave her a lot of love, little head/jaw massages & tried to stay positive. Remember, they feed off your attitude & energy too! She is back to 100%. This whole experience has strengthened our bond. Best of luck to you if you are dealing with this condition with your pup! Hope this has helped, whether giving you ideas on how to cope or just the support that it can be overcome! Take care, Zoey's pet parent ;)

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  60. Here's some tips that worked for me get through this with pup:

    Feeding: Soaked dry kibble in water. I put a glove on & hand fed her. Put a few pieces of kibble in her mouth with one hand & use the other to gently shut her mouth to swallow. Often, my feeding hand was slightly above her head, so her head tilted back helped her to keep food in her mouth. I read that some others pureed food to a paste.

    Drinking: Was told to give fluids with a syringe. However, after recently receiving antibiotics from a syringe, she wanted nothing to do with it! I was able to get her to drink through a turkey baster. I poured a mixture of 3/4 water & 1/4 chicken stock in a bowl. I let her take a couple of laps to taste it. Then, I sucked some up in the syringe & gave it to her. She was sometimes reluctant, but loved it & wanted more after she tasted that it was indeed the water/chicken mix. I would gently raise baster, so that her head was tilted back & cradled her lower jaw with my other hand to gently close her mouth around the baster (& a napkin to catch her dribbles!). On the more difficult days, I dipped the end of the baster in peanut butter to convince her. Again, she usually drank willingly once she got started. Ice was used as treats in between feeding/drinking sessions. I read that some used gelatin as well. The main thing is keeping dog hydrated! I measured how much she usually drank a day (guess by how full her bowl typically was) & ensured she drank that much every day.
    Again, good luck! Take care, Zoey's pet parent ;)

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  61. Our 2 year old yellow lab Boomer cane down with TN about 7 days ago. It came out of no where. Like most of the posts, he didn't look right. We brought him to our vet and they kept him overnight for dehydration. We brought him home the next day and tried to give him ice cubes which Boomer loves. They kept falling out of his mouth. We also noticed that he was foaming out of his mouth and he couldn't close it. We were really scared thinking he has a stroke. We rushed him back to the vet and they kept him overnight again. They did all the tests and everything came back ok. They said it was TN. Today we are taking him to a neurologist. I hope this passes soon. Trying to get water in his body is tough. Every time he drinks out of his now 3 water bowels they get milky white due to the froth in his mouth. I finally realized if I let him drink out of the garden hose, it made it easer for him. Due to the stream of water . It helped him get enough fluid in his body. I wish everyone else luck. I'm glad that I found this site. I know I am not the only one dealing with this !

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    1. Amy- November 18, 2013
      Hi thank you all for sharing all the info on TN it has helped us hopfully with Amy. she is our 7 year old Black Lab that has come down with this. last Tuesday she woke us up sneezing 6 times and very hard. when I looked at her in the morning I noticed her mouth was open and her 3rd eyelid was not going down..I called the vet and took her up...they checked her all out. We did not notice any other signs at the time and the Vet just touched on this Trigeminal Neuritis and then told us maybe we should do xrays and blood work up ...I asked if there was anything else we could do and they said they could put her on an antibiotic and anti inflammatory incase she had an infection or TN it would help with the inflamation. so we did. She still eatting just harder for her to pick up the peices and water is hard to stay in her mouth and I have been putting some water in with her dry food to help with keep water in her as it sounds like that is real important. She seems like herself except when she drinks and you look at her an dher mouth is open and sometimes her eyes are droppey...when she is outside I agree everything looks normal. We are just watching her at this time and willl keep posting..I hope this goes away soon as I jsut feel bad for her and worry that she wont get enough water.....thank you all for posting! hugs to all your dogs out there...:)

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  62. Tina - November 20, 2013
    I am amazed at the amount of inforamtion on TN. My 3 year old Weimaraner Tina developed symtoms a week ago with full on dropped jaw, vomiting and mucky eyes. Our vet wa very thorough and did countless xrays and blood work. She was prescribed antibiotics, cortisone and anti nausea pills. Eating is difficult as everything just runs out of her mouth, I went onto google and the one tip I found helpful is to place an elastic band around her snout - I use hat elastic and this supports her jaw and she doesn't drool soo much and tries to eat albeit very messily and slowly. I purchased tomato sauce/mustard bottle ( those cheap yellow and red plastic ones with a white cap with a spout). I use this to give her water with her head elevated, I put the spout in the corner of her mouth and gently squeeze and she is able to swallow. I am also using this method to give her runny porrige and liquidised kibbles and it is working well. I am using"Real Tears" eyedrops to keep her eyes lubricated because the condtion has affected her ability to blink. She is improving daily and with a lot of love, paper towels and babying I think she will recover. Good luck with your Amy - I hope she manages to improve too.

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  63. Thank you all for your input - my beautiful Tina developed Autoimmune hemolytic anemia and we lost her yesterday, I am gutted but thankful I found this page because the tips really helped. God bless you all and your beautiful dogs.

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    1. I am so sorry for your loss - it's always hard, but to lose her so young is just heartbreaking. Hugs to you.

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  64. Our 7 year old lab/golden retriever mix suddenly could not eat or drink. We took her to the vet who immediately knew what it was, TN. For 2 weeks we gave her water/electrolyte drips twice daily and hand fed her (she did not like syringe feeding but was OK with hand feeding). After 2 wks, she started eating regularly and drinking on her own, but still not altogether OK with drinking (maybe 90% now after 4 weeks). She was very depressed at first, just wanted to sleep, but is now much better. Also now she has developed a hack, not a cough but her chest will heave as she hacks, only very briefly each time, one or two seconds, but several times a day only when resting, and I'm concerned. She has a big lypoma on her flank, a smaller one on her face but they are supposed to be harmless. I worry that TN is just a precursor to something more serious. Will give this a little more time & see the vet again after Christmas. TN is supposed to be rare, but I see many posts here.

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    1. Please don't wait until after Christmas - have her checked just to be sure. Good luck - Tina's Pet Parent

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    2. Thanks for your concern. Our dog is fine now, eats & drinks 100% and no more hack, we are so happy to have her back to normal. I would recommend to others who have dogs with TN to go with the under-the-skin drips to be sure the dog keeps hydrated. They tolerate it better than trying to force water down their throats.

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