Bruxism in awake dogs as a clinical sign of forebrain disease: 4 cases

Theofanis Liatis, Megan Madden, Katia Marioni-Henry

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Bruxism is a repetitive masticatory muscle activity characterized by
clenching or grinding of the teeth, or by bracing or thrusting of the mandible, or both.
Objectives: To investigate whether bruxism in awake dogs could be associated with brain lesions.
Animals: Four dogs with episodic bruxism in the awake state.
Methods: Observational retrospective single-center case series. Inclusion criteria
were dogs examined between 2010 and 2021 with episodic bruxism as a presenting complaint or observed during the examination or hospitalization, complete medical records and magnetic resonance imaging or computed tomography of the brain.
Bruxism during epileptic seizures as oroalimentary automatism was an exclusion
Results: Four dogs met the inclusion criteria. Two dogs had bruxism while awake as a presenting complaint, whereas in the remaining 2 it was a clinical finding. All dogs had neuroanatomical localization consistent with a forebrain lesion, with diencephalic involvement in 3/4. The diagnostic evaluation was consistent with neoplasia (n = 2) and meningoencephalitis of unknown origin (n = 2), in 1 case accompanied by corpus callosum abnormality affecting the forebrain, in 3 dogs advanced imaging findings were suggestive of increased intracranial pressure. All dogs were euthanized.
Conclusions and Clinical Importance: Our results suggest that the presence of
bruxism in the awake state associated with other neurological deficits might indicate a forebrain lesion.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2132-2141
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Veterinary Internal Medicine
Issue number6
Early online date2 Nov 2022
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2022


  • diencephalon
  • jaw clenching
  • mandible thrusting
  • teeth grinding
  • thalamus


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