Cat Tales – Emeishan (Dental Disease in Cats)

By December 1, 2014 April 16th, 2021 Uncategorized

It’s time for another Cat Tale! Since we’ve been talking a lot about the importance of preventative care, we wanted to share the story of one of our patients named Emeishan. Emeishan is a 12 year-old Siamese with a loving cat guardian named Bob. He’s been taking care of her since she was a little kitten, and she first came to see us here at Cat Care Professionals in 2002. Bob is an avid photographer and enjoys taking pictures of wildlife, and as you can see, we’re sure Emeishan makes for an adorable subject as well!

Bob understands the importance of preventative care as much as any of us here at the clinic, and in Emeishan’s 12 years of life, he has never missed her annual exam (twice a year now that she is a senior!). At her most recent wellness exam, one of our veterinarians, Dr. Ellingsen, diagnosed her with gingivitis, a form of dental disease, and recommended that she return for a dental treatment. During her dentistry, a better oral exam and x-rays showed a lesion on her lower left molar. This was a surprise both to us and her dad! With the ability to give cats anesthetic during a dental treatment, we are able to do a much more thorough examination of the mouth and see things that a physical exam alone won’t show us. Not to mention, the ability to do x-rays gives us an even deeper look at anything laying under the surface. We don’t go to the dentist without getting x-rays so why should our cats?

The importance of finding this lesion is that sometimes what we see as gingivitis on a superficial level can be hiding a more dangerous diagnosis like Emeishan’s lesion. “Evidence has shown that even a gingival infection, if left untreated, can lead to multiple health problems,” commented Dr. Ellingsen, “Treatment entails cleaning under the inflamed gum tissue via a common dental procedure. Emeishan’s owner followed our recommendation, and she underwent general anesthesia for the procedure. While undergoing dental examination and radiographs, we discovered a problem with a tooth that we didn’t even suspect during her wellness exam. It turned out to have a cavity-like lesion, possibly even from some type of trauma that caused a fracture of the tooth crown. Thankfully, her owner understood the need for the dental examination under general anesthesia due to the gingivitis, which allowed us to find this affected tooth and take care of it before it caused her significant pain and infection.” In cats, as Dr. Ellingsen mentioned, oral lesions can cause excruciating pain if they become advanced, and as they progress, they can destroy the tooth as well.

In Emeishan’s case, Dr. Ellingsen was able to extract the tooth, and after a few days on pain medication, she’s doing much better at home. She’s even looking forward to traveling with Bob in his RV for their next road trip to Canada. Not all cats have Emeishan’s story, but she reminds us that when we are proactive about our cat’s care, then it helps them to live much longer, healthier, and happier lives.

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