Dental disease affects 85% of pets over the age of one year! Cats and small dogs are the most prone to this and seven-years-old Phoenix, a domestic shorthair ginger tabby cat owned by our receptionist Sam, was no different. As part of his overall health plan, he was booked in for a routine dental cleaning. This involves pre-anesthetic blood work, IV fluids (before, during, and after the procedure), full general anesthetic monitored by a registered veterinary technician, full dental x-rays, probe and examination of each tooth by the veterinarian, and scale and polish of each tooth. Think of all the things we have done at our yearly or twice yearly dental cleanings and apply that to our pets!
His routine dental cleaning showed that he had three feline oral resorptive lesions, which meant he needed three teeth extracted. This came as a surprise to his owner; however, greater than half of the cats over three years of age have at least one tooth affected by this condition. The cause is unknown. The lower jaw premolars are the most affected, but this can occur in any tooth. Resorption starts at the gumline and erodes sensitive dentin, causing pain. The only way to know that this is happening is to take dental x-rays. If he had never received a regular dental cleaning, this problem would have gone undiscovered, and therefore causing pain, infection, and possibly affecting his eating habits and overall health.
Phoenix now gets dental kibbles for his breakfast and dinner to help maintain his dental health. He also gets his teeth checked over at his annual physical exam to make sure no symptoms of this problem are returning and will need regular dental cleanings, including x-rays, to ensure we stay on top of his condition.
Written by Sam Doherty, Receptionist