Feline orofacial pain syndrome (FOPS) is a pain disorder of cats with behavioral signs of oral discomfort and tongue mutilation. Affected cats commonly present with exaggerated licking and chewing movement, and pawing at the mouth that is episodic. Discomfort seems to be confined to one side of the mouth and lips. Diagnosis is by a process of elimination of other causes of oral pain. This study describes the syndrome in 113 cats including 100 Burmese in the United Kingdom. FOPS is suspected of being a neuropathic pain event. The predominance in the Burmese breed suggests an inherited disorder. The disorder is often recurrent and may with time become unremitting. Twelve percent of cases in this study were euthanized as a consequence of the problem. Sensitization of trigeminal nerve endings as the result of oral disease or tooth eruption appears to be an important trigger factor in the etiology. External situations causing anxiety also influenced the disease in 20% of cats. Identification of social incompatibility in a multi-cat household is a key step. FOPS appears not to respond well to traditional analgesics and some cases respond more successfully to anti-convulsants with an analgesic effect. Phenobarbital is considered a reasonable first choice for treatment. [VT]
Heath S, Rusbridge C, Johnson N et al: Orofacial pain syndrome in cats, Vet Rec 149:660, 2001.