Orofacial pain syndrome

From Cat
Clinical presentation in a 7-week-old DSH presented with orofacial pain syndrome. Courtesy Dr Naomi Lessels.
Same cat after 7 days of treatment.

Feline orofacial pain syndrome (FOPS) is a disorder of kittens characterized by both pathological (facial dermatitis, lingual ulcers) and psychological (chronic orofacial hypersensitivity) symptoms.

The cause of this syndrome is unknown but a number of hypotheses have been proposed, including trigeminal nerve neuritis due to FHV, lingofacial pain associated with feline caliciviral infection, and generalized neuritis associated with dental eruptions[1].

The disease is characterized by an episodic, typically unilateral, discomfort with pain-free intervals. Facial skin lesions have been reported[2].

Orofacial pain syndrome is often recurrent and with time may become unremitting. Approximately 10% of cases are non-responsive to therapy and require euthansia[3].

Diagnosis is based on presenting clinical signs, age, duration of symptoms and exclusion of other causes of facial pruritus.

Successful treatment has been reported with use of a combination of anti-inflammatories, opioids and topical lotions, such as:


  1. Heath S et al (2001) Orofacial pain syndrome in cats. Vet Rec 149(21):660
  2. Lessels, N (2015) Orofacial pain syndrome in a 7-week-old kitten. Control & Therapies Series, CVE, University of Sydney 279:28
  3. Rusbridge C et al (2010) Feline orofacial pain syndrome (FOPS): a retrospective study of 113 cases. J Feline Med Surg 12(6):498-508