Check Out Our Advertisers!
     None  Accounting/Bookkeeping
     None  Advertising
     None  Animal Care
     None  Auto Body Shop
     None  Auto Repair
     None  Automotive Accessories
     None  Automotive Dealership
     None  Aviation
     None  Banks and Credit Unions
     None  Barns and Steel Buildings
     None  Carpet Cleaning
     None  Chiropractic Care
     None  Churches
     None  Computer Services
     None  Dental Care
     None  Dry Cleaning
     None  Electric utility
     None  Electrician
     None  Equine Services
     None  Excavating
     None  Eye Care
     None  Field Mowing
     None  Fitness/Physical Therapy
     None  Garage Doors
     None  Garbage/Hauling Services
     None  Hair/Nail Care and Cosmetics
     None  Health Care
     None  Heating and Cooling
     None  House Cleaning
     None  Insurance
     None  Internet Service
     None  Landscaping
     None  Massage Therapy
     None  Mortgage
     None  Music Lessons
     None  Pawn Shop
     None  Pet Sitter
     None  Pet Store
     None  Plumbing
     None  Propane Delivery
     None  Real Estate Services
     None  Restaurants
     None  Roofing
     None  Spas, Saunas, Hot Tubs
     None  Specialty
     None  Storage
     None  Tavern
     None  Tax Preparation
     None  Telephone/Cell Phone Products & Services
     None  Tractor, Trailer and RV Sales
     None  Window Replacement
     None  Window Washing
     None  Windshield Repair
     None  Wood Stove Sales and Accessories

The New Falcon Herald
If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant; if we did not sometimes taste adversity, prosperity would not be so welcome.
– Anne Bradstreet  
About | Contact | Advertise | Get a Copy | Subscribe   | Privacy Policy 

  Volume No. 11 Issue No. 4 April 2014  

None Adopt Us   None Black Forest News   None Book Review   None Business Briefs  
None Community Calendar   None D 49 Sports   None FFPD News   None Face to Face in Falcon  
None From the Publisher   None Health and Wellness   None Letters to the Editor   None Monkey Business  
None News Briefs   None News from D 49   None Pet Care   None Photo Stories  
None Phun Photos   None Rumors  
Front Page   |   Feature Stories   |   Search This Issue   |   Log In
Pet Care
Printer Friendly Version
Dr. Jim Humphries
  What’s wrong with my cat’s mouth?
  By Dr. Jim Humphries
  Veterinarian -

   Many cat owners look at the grace, athleticism and beauty of their pets and think that they have the “perfect” animal. Unfortunately, many of these same cats will have a very “imperfect” mouth, due to a serious and very painful condition that causes teeth to resorb, dissolve and even break! Here’s what we know about tooth resorption in cats.
   Ask any cat owner about how they care for their feline’s teeth and most will reply that “he eats dry food;” or, more commonly, “I really don’t look at her teeth.” While most veterinarians will acknowledge that brushing a cat’s teeth is a real challenge, they will also stress the importance of a routine oral assessment of your cat’s mouth. These exams help find preventable problems and even some concerning issues such as oral cancer. But one of the most serious diseases we are seeing more often is called Feline Tooth Resorption.
   Tooth resorption, or “TR” as it is commonly called, is a condition seen in a growing percentage of cats over the age of 6. The same strange condition is also seen in dogs and in people, but it is not nearly as common.
   In the past, this disease has been called “neck lesions,” “cervical line lesions” and even the cumbersome “Feline Odontoclastic Resorptive Lesions.” Whatever the name, this condition is seen in cats who often appear very normal. The process is a slow progression but causes extreme pain because of the exposure of the root canal. This can even lead to behavior changes and lack of normal appetite.
   Dr. Tony Woodward, a noted board-certified veterinary dentist, said the exact cause for TR has not been determined. Theories about exposure to certain viruses, breed prevalence and chronic inflammation of the mouth and gums have all been proposed. Woodward said one study suggests that high levels of Vitamin D in cat foods could be linked to resorptive disease, but that research is still ongoing. Interestingly, there has even been evidence of TR in cat skeletons that are 800 years old!
   Cats learn to hide their pain very well. While on the surface they may not appear to be painful, there are subtle signs that they do have mouth pain; and some are so severe they stop eating and lose weight. Observant owners may note that their cat prefers to chew food on just one side or that the cat stops grooming. They may “toss” dry food into the back of their mouth and not chew. As TR progresses, some pets will even develop sullen or aggressive attitudes, as if they are mad at the world!
   Interestingly, many of these teeth look normal on a clinical exam. Your veterinarian may point out how some of your cat’s cheek teeth are showing lines of inflamed, fleshy material right near the base of the tooth – typically on the lower jaw. At this point, the erosion has exposed the tooth to the bacteria of the mouth and this is when affected cats become extremely painful. Even under a general anesthetic, a slight touch of these teeth will cause a cat to “chatter” their jaw, indicating very serious pain.
   Dental X-rays are the only way to diagnose TR and understand the extent of the disease process. When the radiographs are taken, your veterinarian can see changes in the density of the roots and crowns of the teeth. Affected teeth have a “moth eaten” appearance. Some teeth can be partially affected, while others may have completely dissolved away, leaving a “ghost image.”
   Unfortunately, there is no effective treatment that can save the teeth. A normal cleaning and polishing will simply not work. Veterinary dentists have even tried root canal therapies (endodonics), but they fail, as this resorption occurs on a microscopic basis. A tooth that is showing any signs of resorption needs to be extracted. Some cats will need full mouth extractions. All cats with a known history of TR should be X-rayed every six months to a year. It is likely other teeth are affected, and they must be monitored.
   The good news in all of this is that once your veterinarian knows about the disease, several things can be done to keep your cat comfortable. Experience has shown that cats who were once not eating well or even aggressive will often have a positive behavior change in just a matter of weeks. It is surprising how the removal of these painful teeth can often bring back your affectionate feline friend.
   Cat lovers are often unaware their pets are experiencing such pain. But regular visits to your veterinarian can help identify the issue and start work that will make your cat feel better. If you have a middle-age to older cat, have a comprehensive oral examination for your pet, including dental X-rays and regular dental cleanings.
   Dr. Jim Humphries is a house call veterinarian in Falcon. He also serves as a visiting professor at the College of Veterinary Medicine at Texas A&M University. He lives in Falcon with his wife, horses and Great Danes.


© 2004-2014 The New Falcon Herald.
All rights reserved.