View Full Version : Jaw-stretching/Teeth-gnashing? Vet appointment on Tuesday.

07-22-2020, 01:16 AM
Hey, squirrel board.

So I have three and a half year old female who started, about a month ago, doing this weird jaw-wagging routine where she opens her mouth really wide repeatedly, like she's on an airplane and trying to pop her ears. This went on for a few days and I worried she had something stuck in her craw or that she had developed a sudden dental occlusion, then it stopped and went away. Two weeks later though, she's back at it. I have not burritoed and forced her jaw open to look, but I have done my best to hold her up and look inside her mouth and I can't seem to see her top teeth.

My local sanctuary hooked us up with an appointment to see their vet next Tuesday, but of course I'm fretting. She's eating and drinking fine, and doesn't seem to be at all uncomfortable when I rub her jaw and snooter. She likes it same as she always has. Her bottom teeth look normal, but sharp, protruding about 1/3 inch above the gum line--so a little on the long side now. I am pretty sure that a month ago when I looked at her top teeth one was slightly shorter than the other, and today when I tried to look--it's difficult to get her to let me look--i didn't see anything at all. It was the briefest glimpse, maybe I'm nuts. But I didn't see any top teeth.

For general reference, she gets two-three Henry's blocks a day and more fruit and nut treats than she should, not enough greens. She's fat, but she was also born without any back feet and her left hand is very tiny, her right hand very crooked, so normal squirrel exercise isn't really something she gets readily. She weighs 610 grams. Her poop, fur, and temperament are all really normal.

Tuesday I guess we're scheduled for a consultation and examination, which will mean sedation since she won't let anyone but me touch her, with possible tooth-trimming to follow as necessary.

Is malocclusion at three years normal? I would have thought it would present sooner, I guess. Is this maybe something else? This jaw-stretching motion is the only symptom, and my cursory, wimpy demand to see inside her mouth is questionable in terms of what I've seen. She holds her secrets close.

Any advice you guys can offer, or questions I should ask/answer, would be really lovely. More greens, I know. I'm scared.

07-22-2020, 05:40 AM
Aw, Someday you need to tell us what happened to her.

Make sure your vet takes head x-rays if nothing screamingly obvious shows up when they look in the mouth. Side views and a top view. If this baby has odontoma, it is something that you need to know. Happily for you, the best odontoma expert we have available to us is in Port Orange, FL, so within reach to you. W have members who have driven their babies from CA to get to her.

07-29-2020, 12:09 AM
So the vet confirmed occlusion, but said that her teeth are still wearing and that she's doing the jaw-stretching because her teeth feel funny. He said as long as she can eat, it's not an issue that needs to be addressed.

I... am skeptical. She's doing yawn-wag with her jaw like she's very uncomfortable. I can't believe that being uncomfortable with your teeth is the solution??

As far as what happened to her, she was honestly just born this way. She has a club foot, a leg that kinda ends at the knee, a tiny hand, and a crooked hand. Her tail is short, and her ears are curly. I tell everyone she's extra fancy. She has vestigial nail growths on her tiny limbs. And while I try to keep her diet as healthy as possible, I feel a little less guilty about the fact that she looks like a Sumo sure-to-win given the fact that she literally can't run or jump.

I guess my real question here is how far should I trust the vet, who was recommended by my local sanctuary, and if I don't, what should I do. He said there wasn't anything that could be done at this time. He trimmed top teeth "a tiny bit." She's still jaw-wagging. I'll try to get a video to post.

07-29-2020, 12:37 AM

07-29-2020, 12:51 AM
OMG she's precious! :Love_Icon

She looks like pics of other people's dwarves, I guess because of the short limbs.

07-29-2020, 06:12 AM
It does sound like "I don't know what is wrong" in doctor-speak, doesn't it?

I mentioned this before - contact these people: https://ravenwoodvet.net/ and see about an appointment with Dr. Alicia Emerson. Squirrel teeth are her THING. I know it is a bit of a trek but I also wasn't kidding when I said we have had members travel from California and Texas to get to see her because of this. Compared to them, you are right around the corner!

I don't know as though she is a dwarf - she could be though I do like the "extra fancy" and plan on stealing that! Dr. Emerson can help you with that determination as well. The best way for you to tell is if she leaves the examination room with your baby and an instant later you see her running through the parking lot in a wig and sunglasses, diving into her car and tearing out of there! Dr. Emerson has a real soft spot for achondroplastic dwarfs and has had several of them, including a little one named Stuart that was gifted to her by one of our members here at TSB.

She is ridiculously cute BTW (your squirrel, though Dr. Emerson is too). What is her name?

07-31-2020, 01:38 AM
It does sound like "I don't know what is wrong" in doctor-speak, doesn't it?

Thank you! That's really validating to hear. I respect professionals, I absolutely respect this vet--but there's still this looming "but." Something is wrong, and I just can't bring myself to write it off as nothing. Maybe it's not her front teeth, maybe it's something in her ears or throat. Maybe it's a tic. She grew out of a head tremor, who knows what's going on in that noggin of hers.

So question: if Iso sedation is safe, are we a-OK to do it again to get x-eays?
I very much appreciate the link and rec! I'm going to give Dr. Emerson/the Ravenwood clinic a call. I'm basically head over heels for her already based on the description, haha. I would LIKE to see about getting some preliminary x-rays taken at my normal vet's office (which is different from the office we just went to; question on that to follow) and possibly sent to the Ravenwood office prior to making the drive over, but we'll see what the involved vet practices think about that.

Re: dwarfism--I had no idea that was a thing with squirrels! Brigid is, I'm fairly certain, just...I hate to say deformed (because extra fancy really does just fit the bill so much better, please do steal it!), but she really does seem to have what in humans would be called congenital birth defects like meromelia. Her extremities are curtailed on the right hand and left leg, unformed on the left and right on the opposite.

She's named Brigid after the Saint and the Brigid of pre-Christian Irish mythos, I could write a novel on why. I was missing a pair of boys who had stopped coming inside when she showed up. My family said that she should be put down because she wouldn't ever be able to be released, what kind of life could she live? And to that I have to say, "Have you met Bridge? She is definitely living her best life. She lives for car rides and pecans.

07-31-2020, 02:15 AM
Brigid is too cute and not sumo-wrestler-esque at all!

Hi... first time posting. You mentioned sedation to visit the vet. Could you share a bit about that?


07-31-2020, 02:39 AM
Brigid is too cute and not sumo-wrestler-esque at all!

Hi... first time posting. You mentioned sedation to visit the vet. Could you share a bit about that?


Sure thing! So my squirrel is much like many other squirrels in that she loves it when I snoogle with her, but if anyone else tries to touch her she bites the bejesus out of them. I was worried about how that fact would translate when dealing with a vet visit, but the vet clinic I was dealing with didn't bat an eyelash. They understood that that's a thing, and said that when I brought her in, since that's her MO, I should bring her in my smallest pet carrier. They explained that they would basically put the carrier in a plastic bag, punch a hole on the bag, plug in a tube, and pump the carrier full of oxygen and anesthesia. That way my squirrel wouldn't be stressed out by people handling her, she would basically sack out and wake up later after everything was done.

I was worried she'd be out of sorts or anxious when I picked her up later that day, but she didn't act like she'd been sedated at all. She was anxious to be out of the small cage, but otherwise perfectly normal.

The cost of sedation in my area was $105 on top of the exam and procedure, and I think that was exceedingly reasonable. If you're worried about anything or have any specific questions, I'll do my best to answer. I know it's a really scary, foreign idea.