Craniomandibular Osteopathy


Craniomandibular Osteopathy

Craniomandibular osteopathy is a disorder that occurs in young dogs, primarily terriers. The most commonly affected breeds are West Highland White Terriers, Scottish Terriers and Cairn Terriers. It has been recognized in other terrier breeds and in Boxers, Labs, Great Danes and Dobermans. It usually shows up before 10 months of age.

Excessive bone development occurs along the mandible (jaw) and the temporal region. Affected dogs have difficulty chewing and swallowing and may drool as a result of this. There can be great pain on opening the mouth but some dogs do not seem as pained as others. There is often fever accompanying this disorder. Weight loss can occur from the difficulty in eating. Atrophy (shrinking) of the muscles over the head and jaw areas can occur. X-rays show excessive bone production, sometimes very severe.

Mike Richards, DVM

Craniomandibular osteopathy - Scottie

Q: I work in a and we have a client that has a Scottie Terrier . He is about 5 months old . They just found out he has Craniomandibular Osteopathy, I would like to find out about it and what treatments ( if any ) so I can learn and pass the info to them . They are taking him to a Vet. in Denver, and he takes 1/2 Asprin 2x daily . He doesn't seem to be in pain . He has had one grouth removed but it grew back . Please send me information on this if you have any . Thank You Very Much .... Pookie

A: Pookie - Craniomandibular osteopathy is most common in terrier breeds but can occur in other breeds as well. It is a proliferation of bone for no known reason that I am aware of. It can be painful and due to the effects on things like being able to eat it can lead to weight loss and drooling. Fever can occur on and off in some dogs.

There is no treatment that I know of, either. Pain relieving medications should be used if there is any indication at all of pain. Aspirin and cortisones have been the standard treatments but I suspect that carprofen (Rimadyl Rx) will find a place in relieving pain for this disease, too.

Fortunately, most dogs outgrow this condition and often the bone proliferation will even resolve. Some dogs have such severe signs that they have to be euthanized before they can reach early adulthood when the disease tends to dissipate. Mike Richards, DVM


Michael Richards, D.V.M. co-owns a small animal general veterinary practice in rural tidewater Virginia. Dr. Richards graduated from Iowa State University's College of Veterinary Medicine in 1979, and has been in private practice ever since. Dr. Richards has been the director of the PetCare Forum...