SERENDIPITY - A SORE PAW HELPS A VERY SORE MOUTH!
Mrs Judge brought Nanook, her handsome 6-year-old domestic shorthaired cat, to us at Eureka Veterinary Centre for a wound on his foot.
We always check the whole animal in our consultations and our Vet noticed Nanook also had a very sore mouth with bad teeth and gum disease. Mrs Judge reported she had noticed his breath was very smelly and he seemed uncomfortable when he was eating. We gave him antibiotics and painkillers to help his paw wound heal and to ease the discomfort in his mouth. He was booked in for dentistry the following week.
By then his paw had healed and he was eating more comfortably.
Under general anaesthesia, we thoroughly examined his whole mouth. This revealed severely infected and inflamed gums, significant tartar, advanced periodontal disease and a FORL - if interested see below for meaning of these terms. We had to extract eight teeth and then cleaned up the remainder with ultrasonic scaling and chlorhexidine antibacterial rinse flushed under the gum edges.
Within only a few days Nanook’s mouth was healing well. His bad breath was gone and he seemed a more content cat and eating very comfortably.
It is very common for cats and dogs to be suffering with painful teeth, sometimes without showing any signs. However, once the painful teeth are removed, owners often report the cat (or dog) has become more playful and energetic again. Almost like a kitten again in some cases!
FORL = FELINE ODONTOCLASTIC RESORPTIVE LESION
FORLs are VERY common and can occur from 1 year old. MOST cats over 5 years old are already affected.
They often occur in a clean looking mouth where there is no other dental disease and can be very difficult to see.
Ø They are VERY painful. A bit like having a MASSIVE CAVITY for us.
Ø The only treatment to stop the pain is extraction of the affected tooth
Ø Some cats are very stoical and as the pain has come on gradually, may not show any obvious signs of pain. However, signs can be:
- Discomfort on eating or even refusal to eat
- Weight loss
- Pain on examination of the mouth
- Tooth fracture
Ø Periodontal disease, also known as gum disease, affects 70% of cats and 87% of dogs over the age of three years!
Ø It is primarily caused by plaque. The plaque toxins destroy the dental tissues leading to gum detachment, bone loss, loose teeth and overall poor health.
Ø Aside from routine neutering, dentistry is the main reason for general anaesthesia in pets. It is therefore vital to maintain a clean and healthy mouth.
Ø The most effective way to look after your pet’s teeth is by using a toothbrush and suitable toothpaste every day. Feeding a specific dental diet is the next best thing. Other methods that can help include safe dental chews and/or toys and chlorhexidine rinses or gels.
Ø Animals don’t always show obvious signs of pain. We recommend a health check at least every 6 months where we can examine your pet and assess their oral health.
Ø Clinical signs of periodontal disease can be:
- Smelly breath
- Lack of self-grooming
- Fussy with food or even refusal to eat
- Pawing at face/mouth
- Weight loss
- Bleeding gum
If you have any concerns about your pet’s oral health or would like to book an appointment for a dental check please give us a call on 01233 611071.