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Savannah jaw clicking when he yawns

I have a 9 month old savannah and I have noticed recently that when he yawns, his jawbone clicks as it's closing. He doesn't act like it is painful at all, but it sounds very painful. and from all of the research I have done, they say the only option is surgery and wiring their mouths shut... I cannot put him through that or do that to him if he's not even acting like its painful, but it sounds it... Everything I have read says the only reason for jaw clicking could be a dislocated or fractured jaw, or the disease TMJ which ultimately causes lock jaw. He does have a small (what seems to be a floating abcess) but the vet thinks is a gland, underneath his chin bone.) but has anyone ever dealt with this? What should I do??

Pam Flachs

Savannah Super Cat
Hi Kasey,

Your poor boy! I think it's a good sign that it doesn't seem to painful; I would have it checked it out thoroughly, if I were you. I don't have any expererience with this, but did your vet at least prescribe antibiotics if he thought it was an abcess? Do you have any other vets in your area you can consult---even if you have to travel some distance? Is there a university near you that has a vet school? Most times they offer veterinary services, and will have the most up-to-date knowledge and treatment of feline maladies and are usually quite reasonable in cost....I am lucky that I have one within an hour's drive if need be. I've been fortunate not to have to go there yet, and my current vet office is more than willing to consult with them if they need to. Good luck with your boy; keep in touch and let us know how he is doing! Pam


Staff member
I don't have any experience with this but it seems that you should at least ask your vet to take a set of xrays to confirm proper alignment of the upper and lower jaw. Personally, I think if it doesn't seem to bother him I would just keep an eye on it, realizing that it may start to bother him over time.
Thank you for your help. When I brought him to the vet about a week ago,the DR said he thought it was a gland and told me to just keep an eye on it and if is still there in 2 weeks, then he would have to sedate him to do testing. x rays, biopsy, and I am very scared to do that to him...I don't want to sedate him, and X rays also increase the risk of cancer, so I have tried to avoid them. I didn't hear any clicking for a few days then I heard it again about 2 days ago. I have probably only heard it about 15 times total. we don't have any veterinary universities that I know if anywhere in the state, and I know that I have a very good vet,. I have switched vets in my area 3 times because I didn't like the way they cared about my cats, and felt as though they weren't able to properly handle them, do exams, and diagnose problems. but i'm just scared to make him go through sedation, x rays and more if its something that will go away and fix itself, especially if it doesn't seem to hurt him, and it only happens when he yawns really wide. But he is very active, eats no problem, drinking just fine, everything else is entirely normal besides this, and his xiphoid process that sticks out more than normal. but nevertheless I will definitely bring him back in soon just for peace of mind. ( or x rays) .


Staff member
I don't think there's anything wrong with just watching and waiting, as long as it's not getting worse or possibly getting better. However, getting a set of xrays is quite safe and might provide some peace of mind as well. A biopsy is more invasive so I wouldn't want to do it unless the vet strongly recommends it.

Per Lausund

Staff member
An x-ray will not cause cancer or tissue damage, and shouldn´t worry you at all. That and possibly an ultrasound should be sufficient to start with, and a small (i presume it is small, but can you relate the size to for instance a pea, an almond or a plum, or any other fruit for tjat matter!), possible abcess is no life-threatening thing. I´d be careful with a biopsy before diagnosing the x-ray picture. the clicking may be quite innocuous, so don´t worry too much if the cat otherwise is healthy and comfortable.