The lion is the only cat to have an enormous skull, which houses a set of large jaws that make it the only big cat to eat flesh raw. It’s thought that this feeding habit is what led to their facial deformity of lower canines that are grossly extended and interlocked with the upper canines in a manner called “carnassial shear. Lion jaw broken is a condition that makes the lion unable to chew the food, which then causes them to starve to death. Here are the top reasons why lions face obstacles in living with a broken jaw.
1. Broken jaw is painful –
The underdeveloped mandible of lions cause their lower canines to extend out of their jaw and interlock with the upper canines. This extended structure, which is similar to that of a parrot’s beak, is what makes a lion’s face appear to have a broken jaw. Because the teeth are locked in place, lions have difficulties in chewing their food. Hence, they have to swallow one piece after another without being able to chew the pieces fully, which leads to choking and vomiting that causes them pain.
2. Stomach ulcers –
Another problem associated with broken jaw condition is the stomach ulcers caused due to swallowing of food without chewing it properly. Stomach ulcers are a sharp and painful condition of the stomach wall, which is associated with fever, bloody mucus and unbearable pain.
3. Dysentery –
Unable to chew their food properly, lions are also vulnerable to diarrhea caused by swallowing stool without proper chewing. This leads to dysentery as well as other stomach illnesses that cause severe pain and vomiting. The pain that lions face can be agonizing; it can go on for days, weeks or even months at a stretch. In such severe cases, it’s very hard for lions to even stand up and move or even get off the bed from where they lay down when the pain becomes unbearable.
4. Extensive starvation –
Lions, who are unable to chew their food properly, can starve to death. In the wild, the prides of lions often hunt down large animals and prey on them in a single sitting. However, lions with broken jaw condition are never able to take their share of the prey and eventually starve to death within a few weeks or months.
The condition affects them so severely that they cannot even stand up unassisted or move around without support from other members of the pride. Thus, they die of starvation while lying at one place without any active care whatsoever.
5. Mouth ulcers –
Lions are also at risk of developing ulcers in the mouth, throat and other parts of the body when their broken jaw condition does not get treated. The condition is caused by swallowing food without chewing it properly; instead, they swallow it whole and undigested.
In such cases, lions often develop painful mouth ulcers due to infection that originates when the stomach acids mix with the blood from undigested food. Even today, many herbal medications are used in treating this condition by working on the digestive system and relieving them of pain and inflammation.
6. Alzheimer’s disease –
According to a study published in The Lancet, scientists have concluded that Lions with Broke Jaw possess a genetic mutation that causes the disorder. Scientists from the Lund University in Sweden examined golden lion tamarins, endangered gentle giant Colobus monkeys and macaques and other species for Alzheimer’s.
This research indicates that these animals suffer from the same genetic mutation seen in humans suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. Anu Misra, a prominent researcher at the university who led this study said “The likelihood of this mutation causing deformities similar to those found in humans is much higher than previously thought”.
7. Foul-smelling breath –
The organs of lions get infected with the infectious bacteria. Also, the affected surfaces of their mouth and nose get covered with a foul smelling build-up. The same build-up is found inside the nose and mouth of those suffering from oral cancer and throat cancer as well.
This is one of the major problems faced by those who have broken jaw condition in their jaws; they are unable to treat this condition using a decongestant or any other medication because they can’t swallow it properly. The foul smell remains in their mouth for days on end as well as long as it exists in their body.
8. Weak jaw-
The jaw muscles weaken in lions with broken jaws, which leads to difficulty in chewing the food. The jaws of lions are so strong they can bite through animal skulls like that of a wolf or kill prey with one bite. However, those who have broken jaws often find it difficult to chew the food they eat, which can lead to difficulties in swallowing it and eventually leads to choking and vomiting. This condition weakens their jaws and makes them weak; it also damages their teeth as well because of overgrowth of gum tissue that gets impacted when they don’t chew enough.