Even Vet Pets get dental problems!
Vet Dana adopted this gorgeous boy when he was about 1 year old. She writes "he was poorly at the time and needed surgery on both his eyes, leaving him a bit head shy. So this meant regularly checking his mouth was a big no-no. 18 months later, just by leaning in to give him a kiss, I noticed a foul smell coming from his mouth. Soooooo… I had to do what a vet does and force open his mouth to examine it and I was instantly shocked to see several of his teeth were showing advanced signs of tooth resorption - a painful disease that is very common in cats of all age. It is actually estimated that 70% of cats over 5 years have at least one affected tooth!
Apart from the visibly affected teeth a dental x-ray discovered 5 other lesions resulting in removal of 7 teeth. Seven! In my 3 year old cat. How did I miss this???
Well, cats are masters of disguise! Whilst hiding their pain was important for their wild ancestors, it makes it very hard for us to know when something is wrong."
So it just goes to show that even vets can miss these signs, particularly with pets that are difficult to brush teeth or allow you to look in their mouth!
Whilst some cats don’t show any signs of mouth pain other can show one or more of these:
- Eating less
- Shying away from food
- Bad breath
- Weight loss
- Chewing on one side of the mouth only
- Preferring soft food over biscuits
- Dropping food when eating
- Excessive drooling
- Pawing at the mouth/face
- Bleeding gums
- Becoming head shy and not wanting to be touched around the face
- Reluctance to groom (matted coat)
- Hiding away
Since his dental treatment Whiskey is more inquisitive, loves his chin rubs, and he’s more playful and vocal. Whilst he wouldn’t let me brush his teeth daily, every now and then I can do a full mouth examination to make sure I don’t miss anything .
According to the International Society for Feline Medicine, cats should ideally have their teeth examined by a vet at least once every 12 months, and cats that have had dental problems should be examined once every 3-6 months depending on their condition. Generally, the sooner the problem is identified, the easier and quicker it is to treat. Even if the cat’s mouth is being examined every day, dental disease will develop and gradually progress. Cats will quite often not show clinical signs until the disease is advanced by which time many teeth may need to be extracted.
If you are concerned you cat may be have any mouth pain please contact us!
During March and April we are focusing on dental health - follow us on social media to keep up to date!