Send to

Choose Destination
N Z Vet J. 2016 Nov;64(6):330-6. doi: 10.1080/00480169.2016.1207575. Epub 2016 Jul 21.

Ultrasonographic imaging of the temporomandibular joint in healthy cattle and pathological findings in one clinical case.

Author information

a Department of Farm Animals and Veterinary Public Health , University Clinic for Ruminants, University of Veterinary Medicine , Veterinaerplatz 1, Vienna , A-1210 , Austria.
b Department of Pathobiology, Histology and Embryology, Institute of Anatomy , University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna , Veterinaerplatz 1, Vienna A-1210 , Austria.
c Teaching and Research Farm Kremesberg, University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna , Vienna , A-1210 , Austria.



To describe the normal ultrasonographic appearance of the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) in cattle, and to describe the ultrasonographic pathology of the TMJ as assessed in one cow with TMJ disease.


The TMJ of 12 healthy Holstein-Friesian cows were examined using a portable ultrasonographic unit with a 7.5 MHz linear probe and a 6.0 MHz convex probe. Each TMJ was scanned in a rostrolateral, lateral and caudolateral plane. In addition, the TMJ of one 2-year-old cow with clinical signs of food retention in the mouth, head tilt, swelling and pain in the right TMJ region and an infected horn fracture was examined ultrasonographically.


The bone surfaces of the temporal process, the zygomatic process and the temporal bone, the larger muscles of the TMJ region, the superficial temporal vein, and the parotid salivary gland could be imaged in all normal healthy cattle. Using the linear probe, the joint capsule was visible in 17/24 (71%) cases in the caudolateral plane, but the articular disc could not be visualised. With the convex probe, the joint capsule could be imaged in all cases in the caudolateral plane, and the articular disc in 13/24 (54%) cases in the caudolateral plane. It was never possible to see the synovial pouch in healthy cattle using either probe. By contrast, in the cow diagnosed with septic arthritis of the right TMJ, a marked anechoic and heterogeneous hypoechoic effusion of the TMJ with distension of the joint capsule was visualised.


The results of this descriptive study serve to provide a reference for ultrasonography of pathological conditions of the TMJ region in cattle.


As many veterinarians are equipped with ultrasound machines with 5-8 MHz linear rectal probes, the authors recommend using these probes for further investigation of clinical cases with swelling of the TMJ region and/or masticatory problems of unclear origin to exclude or diagnose TMJ disorders.


Ultrasound; arthritis; cattle; mastication problems; temporomandibular joint

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Loading ...
Support Center