You Make The Diagnosis: Name A Jaw Disease Of Cairn Terriers

Pictured below is Delta Dawn, an adorable Cairn Terrier.  This ball of fur is in constant motion, exploring the world around her.  She loves to make new friends.  After a quick sniff, she wiggles into your arms and gives lots of licks. 

Cairn Terriers are prone to a bony disease that makes it difficult to eat.  Name the disease and other breeds it affects.

Diagnosis:  Craniomandibular Osteopathy (CMO)

Craniomandibular osteopathy is a proliferative bone disease that affects the bones of the head.  In my experience, the mandible is the hardest hit.  Puppies with this condition have problems opening their mouths making it hard to eat.  They may also have fevers from the inflammation and atrophy of the muscles of the head.  On x-rays, the bones look fuzzy with diminished calcium content.  It usually occurs in puppies, age three to ten months.   

Although this disease has been reported in many breeds, it is most commonly seen in Scottish terriers, Cairn terriers, West Highland white terriers and Boston terriers.  Craniomandibular osteopathy is an autosomal recessive disease of West Highland white terriers.  A genetic inheritance pattern has not been established in the other terriers listed.  In general, I do not recommend breeding any individual who suffered from this disease as a puppy. 

Published by kristennelsondvm

Dr. Kristen Nelson grew up on a farm in Watertown, Minn., where she developed a deep love for animals of all kinds. She received a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from the University of Minnesota, College of Veterinary Medicine. Kris then completed a small-animal internship at the prestigious Animal Medical Center in New York City. In addition to writing and speaking, she cares for small and exotic animals in Scottsdale, Az. Dr. Nelson is widely quoted in the media. Her credits include Ladies’ Home Journal, USA TODAY, the Los Angeles Times and numerous radio and television interviews. Dr. Nelson has written two books, Coated With Fur: A Vet’s Life and Coated With Fur: A Blind Cat’s Love. Kris and her husband Steve share their home with rescued cats, birds and a dog.

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