When to know whether dental work is needed

kirikara

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Our vet has suggested for several years that it would be good to schedule a dental exam to see if teeth extractions are needed. They seem to think that is something we should consider but cant tell us until they do it how many teeth will need to be extracted. Our kitty is about 13 years old, she seems to eat ok and refuses to eat wet food, only kibble and her fave "bisque" treat. She's on heavy dosage of atopica (50 mg daily) and has been showing signs of possible arthritis: she is moving slower, go up the stairs slow and has more trouble jumping up or down. She has lost some weight overtime as she is not eating as much, tends to graze small amounts very frequently but that also seems to be due to her brother being increasingly territorial, eating her left oversbefore she can get back to them. Her appetite is also reduced when on attopica.(which was a good thing as she used to be very much overweight). Bottom line is, i struggle to go through the dental surgery. It is major anesthesia, shes older, still eating and I worry she wont recover well or at all at this age, or wouldnt understand. Shes turned a corner age wise, compared to her brother and I would like to make her last years ascomfortable as possible. How did you decide to go through with dental care?
 

corvidae

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Personally, I think it would be wise to at least go through with the exam. We adopted my cat Mindy at age nine from her previous owners, and when we took her for her annual vet checkup it became clear that her dental needs had been neglected for some time, including a note on her file from two years previous suggesting dental work. We had the dental work done, and all but 11 of her teeth had to be removed (although some were already mysteriously missing). There were pockets of pus and infection in her mouth, and where one infected canine was there was bone loss because the infection was so severe it ate into her jaw. Before the surgery she was acting fine and eating fine, and the only reason I noticed the state of her teeth was that I had started to brush her teeth once we adopted her. The dental procedure was rough; she ended up with post operative pancreatitis and needed to be hospitalized for several days. It was really scary. But after she recovered, she was so much chattier and more active and curious- it became obvious how much pain she had been in that we didn’t know because she was new to us.
I feel like an in office dental exam will at least give you and your vet the idea of what’s going on. If the issue is plaque/tartar, that might be a situation where you don’t risk the anesthesia, but if there’s bigger scarier infection, I think it’s important to get it checked out.
 
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kirikara

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I would absolutely have done the dental exam but it requires full anesthesia, which is what stops me. I am real worried she wont recover.
 

pearl99

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I can understand what you're going through! I had to have a dental done on both my 13 year old and 14 year old cats due to visible problems- broken teeth, tooth resorption, gingivitis, tartar; I had adopted them both at age 12 and 13, and was advised at some point they may need it due to the tartar, and the other problems showed up after adopting.
They were in pain with what was going on in their mouths.
The vet gave anesthesia that was safer for older cats (can't remember if it was the type or dosage), and did thorough preop blood work.

I think it's worth doing, and it is scary, but the risk of dental disease giving other problems, at least in my mind, is worse than the anesthesia risk. Untreated dental disease can lead to several other problems, plus there's the pain they could be experiencing. And even a good cleaning now can help prevent gingivitis and infection developing later.
It's worrying while they are under and I was so anxious!
They did do fine.
Let us know what you decide! And if you go ahead how she's doing!
 
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lavishsqualor

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I absolutely agree with Pearl99 and Kirikara. In situations like this, it's imperative you have a vet you trust. If your vet is recommending this course of action and feels as through it's safe for your cat, I would absolutely proceed. Let us know how she does, and please know that I think she's very lucky to have such a caring custodian!
 

fionasmom

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I would also go through with the exam to be sure what is going on in her mouth and how painful or serious it might be...or not be. Another option is to ask for a referral to a specialty clinic where the extractions or procedures would be performed. They are prepared for all eventualities and have state of the art equipment set up and ready to go.
 

ObeseChess

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I would absolutely have done the dental exam but it requires full anesthesia, which is what stops me. I am real worried she wont recover.
My vet - and, based on what she told me, this is standard practice - is going to do a series of blood tests and other exams to look for any risk factors regarding anesthesia before the surgery. Sassy needs two teeth pulled, at least (I had to put it off due to expense but it's booked for January!) and is getting blood work in two weeks to make sure she will be fine beforehand. Yours should do the same, I would think!
 
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neely

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Our last cat and present cat both had a serious case of FORL. Both were adopted and I'm sure their teeth/gums were never examined. Since we go to a feline only vet they have a board certified veterinary dentist on staff. If you are worried this might be a good option for you. Depending where you live you can find a dental specialist here: Find a Veterinary Dental Specialist | AVDC.org

Best of luck, please keep us posted on her progress. :alright:
 

daftcat75

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Cats hide dental pain. This was made abundantly clear to me with my last cat. Just before her 13th birthday, out of nowhere, she started peeing my walls. I had her 11 of those years and she never peed outside the box. Now, out of the blue, she would even pee the wall right in front of me. For a lot longer than I should have, I tried to address this myself. At the same time, the city sent me a notice saying they finally found me after my last move and her registration was out of date. So into the vet she went to get my little fugitive legal once more. While she was there getting her shots, I mentioned that she started peeing the walls. The vet popped her mouth open and said, "thought so. She's been trying to get your attention. Her teeth are going bad. Cats don't cry out in pain." Imagine that. My Krista's teeth upset her so much that she was peeing my walls to get my attention. I didn't think twice about it. Possibly because I know a thing or two about dental pain. I booked her for the exam and the extractions. She came back just fine minus a few teeth. And she stopped peeing the walls. Sadly, she had FORLs and this would not be the last of her dental pain or extractions. I was on the opposite side of the worry scale from you. I would beg her vets to re-do dentals they just did, putting her back under for another dental and X-rays, insisting that they missed something. Often times I was right and they would find root fragments left over from previous extractions. In Krista's last three years, she went under anesthesia so many times that I stopped worrying about it. She had so many rounds of extractions. And I'll tell you, every single one of them was worth it. Though I wish I had gone with my gut and had all her teeth proactively removed rather than waiting for them to go bad one or two at a time.

Because cats can and do hide pain, because teeth problems can cause texture preferences, changes in feeding frequency, or reduction in overall eating, because teeth and gum problems can turn into bone and systemic body infections, I believe the risk of not taking a baseline assessment of her oral health far outweigh the anesthesia risk. And if she does have teeth that need to be removed, the extractions present less risk than keeping diseased teeth in her mouth. Yes, anesthesia in an older cat can be concerning. But there are greater risks here. Your vet can do a pre-anesthesia blood screen that should identify any anesthesia risk factors. Assuming she's clear to go under, the dental examination (and any necessary extractions) should be less risk than rolling the dice on dental disease and assuming you will be able to recognize it in a prey animal programmed by instinct to hide it.
 

nanniecat

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Our vet has suggested for several years that it would be good to schedule a dental exam to see if teeth extractions are needed. They seem to think that is something we should consider but cant tell us until they do it how many teeth will need to be extracted. Our kitty is about 13 years old, she seems to eat ok and refuses to eat wet food, only kibble and her fave "bisque" treat. She's on heavy dosage of atopica (50 mg daily) and has been showing signs of possible arthritis: she is moving slower, go up the stairs slow and has more trouble jumping up or down. She has lost some weight overtime as she is not eating as much, tends to graze small amounts very frequently but that also seems to be due to her brother being increasingly territorial, eating her left oversbefore she can get back to them. Her appetite is also reduced when on attopica.(which was a good thing as she used to be very much overweight). Bottom line is, i struggle to go through the dental surgery. It is major anesthesia, shes older, still eating and I worry she wont recover well or at all at this age, or wouldnt understand. Shes turned a corner age wise, compared to her brother and I would like to make her last years ascomfortable as possible. How did you decide to go through with dental care?
my cat had her teeth cleaned today under anesthesia. i am scheduled to pick her up this afternoon. i thought that was a long time cause we went for 8am. vet said she is till on iv(cause she is 18 yo) and a little groggy. how do i treat her when i bring her home? will it be safe to give her the pred chewy? will she be in danger of chocking? anybody have experience?
 

fionasmom

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I am sorry that this was not answered earlier; I hope that the vet gave you some advice. I would not give anything that could not be easily swallowed right after anesthesia.
 

nanniecat

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i trust u so much! i picked a VERY vocal and rambunctious(both VERY unusual) arnd 4pm yes. i was somewhat taken aback by her behaviour. they said she had been meowing a lot(also unusual)and they had to keep petting her! so i was on edge and watching her(helicopter mom) she ate a little of what was a little in the bowl. i continued to watch her constantly and she seemed ok. when i laid in the bed she came out fr under and got by me(a good thing)she has been her normal self but not wanting to eat(sit by the empty bowl) much. but i am not concerned. i did not give her gabapenin (12.5) until today. they said she had a lot of tartar but no problems. honestly, i think she feels better? maybe the crying was cause she missed me? she has never been away fr me that long. even after her surgery 5 yrs ago i stood in front of her kennel ev day for the 5 days she was in the icu fr 6 am to 10 pm and then we came home. i am glad i had it done and at 18 yo prob the only time. #peaceinthevalley:thanks:
 

fionasmom

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It sounds like she is recovering and quite active. Has she eaten yet? Not eating immediately could be because of her mouth having been handled so much, but she has to start to eat something. You are a great cat parent and she is very lucky to have you! Please let us know how she is doing.
 

nanniecat

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It sounds like she is recovering and quite active. Has she eaten yet? Not eating immediately could be because of her mouth having been handled so much, but she has to start to eat something. You are a great cat parent and she is very lucky to have you! Please let us know how she is doing.
she ate a little of her HA when she got home and then under the bed! i put abt a tbl spoon of it in the bowl b4 i left to pick her up anticipating she may be hungry and it is like rice krispies. (i figured safe?) she didnt seem to have a prob cause of course i was watching her chew! i kept replenishing the little bowl all nite. she did NOT wake me up for more(she usually does!0 so i was surprised to go in the kitchen and c that she ate the little bit of the venison and pea hypo kibble that was in that bowl. yes, she has multiple so she has to have a version of urban foraging! i was expecting the worse but so far so good!the vet called tday to ck on us. i am sooooooooo glad it was JUST a cleaning. this is her nap time so i will be on full alert soon! ty for your advice and concern!:rock:
 
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