Feline orofacial pain syndrome (FOPS): a retrospective study of 113 cases

C. Rusbridge, S. Heath, D.A. Gunn-Moore, S.P. Knowler, N. Johnston, A.K. McFadyen

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Feline orofacial pain syndrome (FOPS) is a pain disorder of cats with behavioural signs of oral discomfort and tongue mutilation. This report describes the findings from a case series of 113 cats including 100 Burmese. FOPS is suspected to be a neuropathic pain disorder and the predominance within the Burmese cat breed suggests an inherited disorder, possibly involving central and/or ganglion processing of sensory trigeminal information. The disease is characterised by an episodic, typically unilateral, discomfort with pain-free intervals. The discomfort is triggered, in many cases, by mouth movements. The disease is often recurrent and with time may become unremitting - 12% of cases in this series were euthanased as a consequence of the condition. Sensitisation of trigeminal nerve endings as a consequence of oral disease or tooth eruption appears to be an important factor in the aetiology - 63% of cases had a history of oral lesions and at least 16% experienced their first sign of discomfort during eruption of permanent teeth. External factors can also influence the disease as FOPS events could be directly linked to a situation causing anxiety in 20% of cats. FOPS can be resistant to traditional analgesics and in some cases successful management required anti-convulsants with an analgesic effect.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)498-508
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Feline Medicine and Surgery
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2010


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