Pressure necrosis of the hard palate

by: Dr. Keeley McNeal from CARE Animal Emergency Services


Ginger is a 1 year old spayed female Rottweiler that presented to CARE Animal Emergency Services with the complaint of a foul odor from her mouth. Owner complained that Ginger’s “doggy breath” seemed to worsen drastically over several days. He also noted that she was also drooling more than usual and “slower” when eating.

On examination, Ginger was a very affectionate and interested in her surroundings. Her temperature, pulse and respirations were all normal. On further questioning of her owner, he admitted that he saw something lodged across the roof of her mouth and used a pair of pliers to remove it before bringing her in to the ER service. He believed the item to be a bone of a small wild animal that Ginger may have caught in the yard.

After getting permission for a sedated oral examination, it was discovered that Ginger had a deep wound across the roof of her mouth. With gentle probing, it was determined that despite the depth and extent of the wound, there was no penetration into the above lying nasal cavity. With gentle flushing of sterile saline, necrotic(dead) tissue was removed to allow for proper healing. A dental antibiotic solution, combined with a topical pain reliever was applied to the wound area. Ginger recovered well from the procedure. The next day she was started on a regimen of oral antibiotics, pain medication, and an oral rinsing solution.

With this type of oral trauma the concern is a nonhealing wound. Ginger’s owners were advised to monitor for excessive sneezing, nasal discharge, or a persistent, foul mouth odor.

On her 1 week follow up examination the wound appeared to be healing well. There had been no signs of a problem with Ginger’s ability to eat, nor evidence of sneezing or foul mouth odor. At her 3 week follow up examination, Ginger appeared to be completely healed with minimal scar formation.