Dental Disease in Cats

Written by: Alison Laurie, Senior Consultant, Crown Vets Inverness

Dental disease is a very common problem in cats. A staggering 85% of cats over the age of three years old can have some form of Dental disease. Dental disease can be very painful but is often very difficult to detect in cats as they tend to hide the symptoms of pain very well. The pain can however be very debilitating for your cat, so prompt action should be taken. 

Signs of Dental pain in cats can include: withdrawn behaviour, hiding away, lowered head, salivating excessively, a decrease in appetite, chattering jaws, absence of normal grooming behaviour, temperament change and growling when handled. After a check-up our Vet may advise that your cat should have a Dental procedure to have their teeth cleaned and thoroughly checked under a general anaesthetic.  A Dental procedure aims to clean teeth and remove the plaque and tartar that leads to secondary gum disease along with removing any damaged or loose teeth that may be causing significant pain and infection. Long term

Dental disease can also cause a spread of bacterial infection to your pet’s kidneys or heart and /or recurrent respiratory infections due to inhaled bacteria and also weight loss and dehydration due to a reluctance to eat or drink. Cats do require to have a carefully monitored anaesthetic for all dental procedures. The risks of anaesthesia are now minimised greatly by performing pre-anaesthetic blood tests and your older cat may also be put onto a drip to support their circulation throughout the procedure. If you are concerned about your cat undergoing an anaesthetic for a Dental procedure, then do discuss your concerns with your Vet your pet will be very carefully monitored throughout the Dental procedure. The longer bad teeth are left then the more problems they will cause your pet in the future. After the dental procedure your cat will have adequate pain relief as may be required and will be much more comfortable and free from pain and also will be free from a constant source of recurrent infection.

If you are at all concerned about your cat's Dental health then do contact your Vet for an appointment initially for a dental examination and you will be advised on the best next step for their dental health from there.