Differing vet opinions on dental cleaning

david68

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Since I'm involved in cat rescue and have six cats of my own, I've developed client relationships with multiple vets, including one that's close to me and has extended emergency hours. One is out on the country and has lower prices on routine things, and one is an independent vet a half-hour drive from me.

10 years ago, the independent vet saved my oldest cat's life when three other vets failed to solve a severe urinary blockage problem. The cat is 15.5 years old now, and we went to see the vet for a checkup and senior bloodwork. All is well, including bloodwork. I asked if the cat needed a dental cleaning, and he said he wouldn't do it if it was his cat. He described some other vets as "corporation practices" and said they tell every client that every cat needs a dental cleaning, and, indeed, I've noticed my other vets pushing this hard.

This vet said he would do a cleaning if I wanted him to do it, but he didn't think it was medically necessary. And this vet is known as a very talented surgeon.

I know each cat has to be evaluated independently of others, but is it a pattern for vets to push questionably necessary dental cleanings? I simply don't know, and I'm a skeptical person who likes to keep an open mind.
 

Lazy Orange House Cat

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I think each veterinarian is different. I live in a town where there are a lot of clinics, and there are a couple that definitely have a reputation for pushing things on people. Conversely, I knew one clinic that would just do the minimum, although that veterinarian did a lot of low-cost, no-cost spays and neuters and saved a lot of lives. If you look in your cat's mouth and you think it needs a cleaning, then do it. If your veterinarian isn't concerned that the cat needs to be anesthetized and thoroughly cleaned, then perhaps you just need to be more proactive about dental health to prevent such a thing in the future?
 

Mamanyt1953

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I hear over and over of vets in big practices pushing things that may not be totally necessary. I think what it comes down to is the relationship and trust you have built with each vet. The one that is advising not to do a cleaning now is the one that saved this boy's life...I doubt he would risk it now.
 

Maurey

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Depends on the state of the mouth, imo. If a cat has severe buildup, gingivitis/inflammation, or indication of loose teeth/resorption, it can be important for QoL to do a dental. Dental disease is very common in cats over 4 years of age, especially those that don't get daily dental care. I'd get at least an Xray done (if your vet will do it without anaesthesia) to make sure the cat doesn't have resorption. Resorptive lesions are extremely painful, and cats can hide pain very well. If possible, I'd suggest getting an opinion from a specialised vet dentist, as they have the most experience with such things. I've had very shit experiences when it comes to feline dental health and GP vets, personally.
 

nanniecat

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Since I'm involved in cat rescue and have six cats of my own, I've developed client relationships with multiple vets, including one that's close to me and has extended emergency hours. One is out on the country and has lower prices on routine things, and one is an independent vet a half-hour drive from me.

10 years ago, the independent vet saved my oldest cat's life when three other vets failed to solve a severe urinary blockage problem. The cat is 15.5 years old now, and we went to see the vet for a checkup and senior bloodwork. All is well, including bloodwork. I asked if the cat needed a dental cleaning, and he said he wouldn't do it if it was his cat. He described some other vets as "corporation practices" and said they tell every client that every cat needs a dental cleaning, and, indeed, I've noticed my other vets pushing this hard.

This vet said he would do a cleaning if I wanted him to do it, but he didn't think it was medically necessary. And this vet is known as a very talented surgeon.

I know each cat has to be evaluated independently of others, but is it a pattern for vets to push questionably necessary dental cleanings? I simply don't know, and I'm a skeptical person who likes to keep an open mind.
my 18 yo cat had a lot of plaque and her onco mentioned it(yikes) her little teeth were brownish! i brought her to her reg vet and he showed her gums to me! awful! i was very afraid but after lots of assurances i agreed. he drew blood to makes sure she was ok for anesthesia:confused: calld me a few days later,she was good so we scheduled it. i was terrified but i have to say she did good,no after effects.just a good cleaning and she is back to eating her venison/pea kibble.she is ok and so am i! i am gld we did it. and no it is not cheap but once in 18 yrs is ok with me! she is worth it and i am at peace knowing i am doing everything i can to keep her as healthy and happy as possible. she was diagnosed with FGESF 5 yrs ago so she has been thru a lot! #heartofalion
 

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denice

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It really depends on the circumstances, how bad the teeth are and anesthesia risks. With a senior cat you will probably get differing opinions. Dentals are a money maker for vet practices so it does come down to a trust issue with the vet.
 

mizzely

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I've taken my cat to two different practices in town within 6 months of each other a few years back. My cat was 9 at the time. The first said they recommended yearly cleanings and wanted to schedule her. The second said they do dentals as needed and looking at her mouth, she had awesome teeth and gums and didn't think it was necessary to put her through it.

I think like anything you'll find that there are differences of opinions. I don't want to say it's all a money grab though... I think some vets just value dental health more than others.
 

denice

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The vet clinic I go to does them as needed at least with my two rainbow bridge kitties. I just adopted an FIV+ cat and I take her for her first appointment a week from tomorrow. I know that FIV kitties are prone to dental issues so the recommendation may be different for her.
 

DreamerRose

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I've been wondering about this, too. My kitties are 6/7 years old, and they both have had their teeth cleaned once. But the vet seems to be pushing yearly cleanings. I lost one cat to dental issues, but I really wonder if cleaning is necessary every year. It's quite an expensive addition to the annual budget.
 

Maurey

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There’s increasing evidence that there are links between poor dental health and kidney issues, as well as cardiac issues. Given that cats are already prone to kidney issues, I’d err on the side of caution of dental health, whenever feasible, given the age and health of an animal.
 

nanniecat

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I think each veterinarian is different. I live in a town where there are a lot of clinics, and there are a couple that definitely have a reputation for pushing things on people. Conversely, I knew one clinic that would just do the minimum, although that veterinarian did a lot of low-cost, no-cost spays and neuters and saved a lot of lives. If you look in your cat's mouth and you think it needs a cleaning, then do it. If your veterinarian isn't concerned that the cat needs to be anesthetized and thoroughly cleaned, then perhaps you just need to be more proactive about dental health to prevent such a thing in the future?
that would be a purrfect world where she lets me get my hand near her mouth! her onco of 5 yrs mentioned it, i had heard it b4 so i brought her to a vet i trust and i have common sense. he had never mentioned it to me. but it was heavy plaque and red gums. he did mention absorption and hereditary but i told him i didnt believe that. she really showed no signs her teeth were bothering her for 18 yrs. but i did think she needed xrays and cleaning. i have confidence in him and i figure better now than later. she is only going to get older and the danger goes up(in my mind) i heard that insurance pays for it maybe that is why some vets push for it? btw this is her fourth vet. vet #2was pushy abt it but it did not look bad to me then AND she misdiagnosed her w/cancer a few months later! she did NOT have cancer NOR did i let her clean her teeth! she is NO LONGER in practice AMEN!:censored:
 

Mamanyt1953

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I have been unreasonably fortunate thus far. Hek is coming up on 14, and her vet says she as the teelh of a two-year-old. Our turn will come!
 
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