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Facial Nerve Paralysis in dogs and cats

The facial nerve (seventh cranial nerve) controls the muscles of the face (ears, eyelids, cheeks, and lips) and relays the sense of taste. Facial nerve paralysis involves a dysfunction of the facial nerve, causing paralysis or weakness of the ears, eyelids, nostrils, and lips. Facial nerve paralysis may affect one or both sides of the animal's face.

Facial nerve paralysis and a head tilt. Because of severe ear canal inflammation, this pug had damage to the facial nerve and inner ear before surgery. His lip and tongue drooped on the left side, and he required eye ointment because he could not blink. His head was also tilted to the left. These changes were permanent.

Additional information

Dysfunction of the facial or seventh cranial nerve, causing paralysis or weakness of the muscles of the ears, lids, lips, and nostrils

Weakness and paralysis are caused by impairment of the facial nerve or the neuromuscular junction peripherally or its nucleus in the brainstem.

Systems Affected
Nervous-- facial nerve peripherally or its nucleus in the brainstem Ophthalmic--if parasympathetic preganglionic neurons that supply the lacrimal glands and course with the facial nerve are involved, conjunctivitis and keratitis develop because of the inability to close the lids and lack of tear secretion


More common in dogs than cats
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