When I perform a physical examination on a cat, I try to open their mouth to check their teeth. I say ‘try’ because some cats absolutely refuse to give me a look inside. I hold the upper jaw (maxilla) with one hand and then gently apply pressure to the lower jaw (mandible) to open the mouth. When I did this to the cat in the video, I was in for a surprise. Examine the x-ray then the video clip by clicking below and make the diagnosis.
Diagnosis: Mandibular Symphyseal Fracture
Mandibular symphyseal fractures are the most common type of jaw fracture I see in practice. Usually, the owner does not know that their cat has a fracture. I find it when I open the mouth and the two canine teeth move independent of each other.
Causes of this fracture include trauma from hitting the lower jaw when jumping down from high places or being attacked by another animal. It may also happen when the lower incisors are extracted. Another cause is failure of the growth plate between the right and left mandible to fuse when a kitten enters adulthood. The fracture is highlighted in yellow.