Dental health is a very important, but often overlooked, part of your cat’s overall wellbeing. Yet it can be tough for pet owners to know when their beloved animal is hurting. This is because most cats are naturally very stoic about pain, and do not show many outward signs. Therefore, since dental disease can lead to not only pain but also worsening physical problems, it is important for cat owners to remain vigilant.
Have you wondered how to keep your cat’s teeth and gums healthy? Just like humans, regular tooth brushing is the best way to flush away bacteria and maintain excellent oral health in cats. We can teach you how to brush your cat’s teeth using a chicken flavored cat toothpaste that your kitty will love.
Detecting Dental Problems at Home
Some sharp-eyed cat owners are able to detect dental problems by paying close attention to their pet. Healthy cats have shrimp pink gums, white teeth, and inoffensive mouth odors. They eat readily and behave normally. Here are a few things to look for that may indicate a dental problem.
- Bad breath
- Reddened gums
- Change in eating habits
- Facial swelling
- Acting generally ill
If your cat shows any of the above signs, or displays any unusual behaviors or personality changes, make an appointment with us right away. Dental problems tend to worsen over time, causing increased pain and risking your cat’s overall health.
Common Dental Diseases in Cats
Like human teeth, cat teeth are susceptible to many common problems. These include, but are not limited to:
- Broken teeth
- Infected gums
- Bone infections
In addition, cats are at risk for two major feline dental diseases.
- Chronic Feline Gingivo-stomatitis (GS): This is an unusually severe inflammatory reaction to dental plaque. The inflammation causes intense pain, swelling, and redness throughout the mouth. Cats suffering from this disease will often stop grooming, refuse to eat, and cry when yawning. They may become antisocial and attempt to hide. It is poorly understood, but some cases are caused by calici virus infection. Although the disease can be serious, treatment is usually highly effective.
- Feline Tooth Resorption (FORL): Also known as cervical lines, cervical lesions, and neck lesions, feline tooth resorption is most common in cats over 2 years of age. It causes loss of tooth structure, eventually exposing the pulp canal, which is filled with blood vessels and sensitive nerves. Cats with FORL usually continue to eat fairly normally, but may vomit unchewed food. Other common symptoms include behavioral changes, pain when the affected area is touched, and drooling.
Feline tooth resorption is visible in the mouth. It begins as a small pink bit of gum tissue on the affected tooth, which gradually grows and spreads. The underlying cause is unknown, but cats who have experienced lesions before are at greater risk for recurrence.
Why Choose The Cat Hospital?
Dr. Ricksgers is a member of the American Veterinary Dental Society. We are highly aware of the complex relationship between dental health and overall physical well-being. That’s why we make a dental evaluation a standard part of every physical exam. When you have us clean your cat’s teeth, we also take dental x-rays at the same time.
If any dental issues are discovered, we will communicate the situation to you right away, along with our treatment recommendations. With strong skills and experience in handling complex dental diseases and dental surgery, we will work hard to get your cat on the road to recovery as quickly as possible.
If you are in our local area and your cat has an after-hours dental emergency, we encourage you to seek walk-in care at one of the following locations. Both are staffed 24 hours per day, 7 days per week:
- Veterinary Emergency and Specialty Hospital in Deerfield, MA. 413-665-4911
- Boston Road Animal Hospital in Springfield, MA. 413-783-1203
In our experience, pet owners looking at an emergency situation in retrospect can think of worrisome symptoms that were displayed in advance of the crisis. Trust your observations, and don’t delay. If you notice any unusual symptoms at all, we encourage you to bring your cat in for diagnosis and treatment right away. Like any untreated health problem, dental issues normally worsen over time.
While pet owners are often able to detect later-stage dental problems, regular veterinary dental care can catch the majority of issues before they become a problem. Dental diseases are painful and damaging, so provide your cat with the best possible chance to avoid these difficulties by scheduling regular dental care at The Cat Hospital.