Imagine what it would be like if you never brushed your teeth or went to the dentist. For many cats, this a painful reality, but it doesn’t have to be! When was the last time you took a peek at your cat’s pearly (or not-so-pearly) whites? Just like humans, taking good care of your cat’s teeth is an important part of maintaining their overall health.
Statistics show that up to 90% of adult cats have dental health problems. In fact, it is one of the most common diseases diagnosed in cats. The good news is that it can be treated, and there are even a few things you can do to help prevent it. The bad news is that if it goes untreated, your cat may suffer from pain, infections, and tooth loss, among other things.
Some signs that may indicate your cat has dental health problems include:
- bad breath
- red and swollen gums
- discolored teeth and/or teeth covered in tartar
- loose teeth
- excessive drooling
- bleeding from the mouth
- dropping food from the mouth
- pawing at the mouth
- shaking their head
- decrease in appetite or reluctance to eat kibble
- weight loss
Unfortunately, the signs are not always this obvious. In fact, most cats don’t seem to show any signs at all, even when they’re in pain. For this reason, cats should have an oral exam at least once per year because veterinarians are able to examine your cat in ways that are impossible to do at home. (Did you know that here at Cat Care Professionals an oral exam is included in all of our routine exams?)
Our doctors are often asked by pet owners if they should be brushing their cat’s teeth at home. Our answer to this question is, “Yes, if possible.” Brushing your cat’s teeth is by far one of the most effective ways to prevent dental disease. To help you get started, check out this short video series by Cornell University’s College of Veterinary Medicine. (Remember: Only use products that are made specifically for cats. Some human products, like toothpastes, can even be toxic to cats.) We also recommend using a water additive, such as Healthy Mouth, to help reduce plaque.
While it’s important to take good care of your cat’s teeth at home, they may still need to go to the dentist (a.k.a. their veterinarian) from time to time. This is where we can help. At CCP, we offer dental procedures that include:
- pre-anesthetic bloodwork
- anesthesia with a dedicated nurse monitor
- IV fluids under anesthesia
- oral evaluation by a veterinarian
- full mouth dental radiographs
- cleaning with ultrasonic scaling and polishing
- fluoride treatment
- antibiotic injection
- pain medication injection
- anal sac expression
- toenail trim
- any other necessary treatments such as extractions
If you have any questions or concerns about your cat, or if you would like to schedule an appointment, we welcome you to contact us at our veterinary clinic and boarding facility located near Portland and the surrounding areas.