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Herding Cats with Dr. Lindsey Brown:Tooth Trouble

Tooth Trouble

     One evening when I returned home from work, my husband informed  that my cat, Angel, was acting “strange”.

 “What do you mean, strange?” I asked.

 “Well, she’s just lazier than usual, that’s all.”

                “How could she possibly be lazier?" I thought to myself. I found her lounging quietly on her favorite spot on the sofa. Angel immediately perked up when she was saw me, ready for dinner. She ran to her bowl without hesitation and happily munched her kibble. Exhausted from a long day at work, I concluded she was fine and went to bed.

                The following day was my birthday. While lounging on the couch eating birthday cake, Angel walked into the room. Something was strange.

                Her mouth was slightly open as though she was in pain. I kneeled besides her on the floor and pried her mouth open. My husband was right. Angel had an infected tooth that desperately needed to be removed. My birthday plans changed from lounging on the couch eating birthday cake in my sweats to scheduling an impromptu dental cleaning.

                My ruined birthday illustrates a common problem in cats. Periodontal disease affects 70% of cats by the age of three. What begins as tartar buildup and bad breath eventually progresses to inflammation of the teeth’s deep supporting structures. The result is severe dental pain and the inevitable loss of the affected teeth if left untreated. Often times our feline friends are so stoic, it can be difficult to realize they are suffering. My cat was still eating hard kibble despite the discomfort she was obviously experiencing.

                How can periodontal disease be avoided? Regular dental examinations with your veterinarian to assess the level of inflammation around the teeth as well as tartar and calculus development are imperative. I strongly recommend at least one dental cleaning a year to remove the tartar and calculus development that can lead to advanced dental disease. The procedure is a general anesthesia procedure, and the Nashville Cat Clinic takes many precautions, such as pre-anesthetic bloodwork, to ensure the procedure is safe. There are several measures you can take at home between dental cleaning visits to slow the progression of tartar as well.

                Angel receives two dental cleanings a year (more than I currently get!), and her smile is brighter than ever! If you notice reluctance to eat recently, excessive drooling, or smelly breath lately with your cat, call the Nashville Cat Clinic for a dental consultation today!


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