Tagged with " dental disease"

Law of survival – Why Cat’s Don’t Cry in Pain

Sep 30, 2012 by     No Comments    Posted under: Tips & Advice

Pain is a basic sensation, an indicator of physical distress. To a small animal in the wild, the exhibition of pain can be life threatening-an indication of weakness which could make it the target of a predator. This pain-hiding survival skill remains even though most of our beloved cats have moved inside. As a result, it is not easy to answer the question, “Is my cat in pain?”

For example, an owner may be surprised when an oral exam reveals significant dental disease, even though their cat is still eating well and has not lost weight . Nevertheless, when the doctor gently touches a tooth with an explorer, the kitty’s teeth begin to chatter, indicating pain. Owners wonder how could they have not known. Two components of feline behavior make pain assessment subtle.

Your cat lives in the present- another survival skill. In a cat’s mind: This is how I am today. This the norm. Your cat does not know that this is a new situation. It accepts the present and moves on. It does not remember less pain one month or one year ago. In addition, your cat more commonly shows pain via behavioral changes and less frequently by crying out. If it hurts to do something, your cat will try to stop doing that activity.

As your cat ages, arthritis may develop. The subsequent loss of mobility and stiffness build gradually. Your cat adapts by changing its lifestyle. You might interpret the changes as benign effects of old age, but they may be caused by pain.

To judge if your cat is in pain, look for behavioral changes such as the following:

  • decreased grooming behavior which could be due to a loose tooth or other mouth discomfort, or due to difficulty bending to groom along its back;
  • defecation outside the box which may be due to discomfort in hips and knees when trying to maintain the defecation posture or feeling unstable on a smooth litter box surface;
  • getting cranky or snapping during your grooming or petting sessions which may be due to inadvertently increasing pressure over tender joints or sore teeth;
  • increased time sleeping on the bed which may be due to general discomfort; and
  • becoming a loner as a new behavior which may be the result of the instinct to withdraw to avoid both physical pain and predation.

Chronic pain is neither something that a cat must learn to accept, nor is it only found in older cats. Dental disease can occur at any age. A previous injury or congenital abnormality may cause arthritis to develop early in a your cat’s life. A thorough examination by your veterinarian will reveal any physical signs of pain. These findings in conjunction with your observations regarding behavioral changes will help the doctor to fully assess the situation and make treatment recommendations. Oral pain can usually be resolved with professional dental care and follow-up home treatment. Arthritis can be managed in many ways. Your doctor can tailor a pain management program that will be best for your cat. It is possible to minimize pain in your cat’s life.

Dr Kathleen Keefe Ternes

Dr. Kathleen Keefe Ternes grew up in western Massachusetts. She received an undergraduate degree from Cornell University in 1974; a BS degree in 1978 and a DVM in 1979 from Michigan State University. Dr. Keefe Ternes returned home to New England in April 1980. In 1984, she achieved one of her professional goals by opening The Feline Hospital in Salem, MA. . Dr. Keefe Ternes, a diplomate of the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners (ABVP), initially certified as a companion animal specialist in 1990. She became certified as a feline specialist in 2000 and recertified in 2010. Dr. Keefe Ternes is a member of AAFP, the AVMA, the MVMA, and her local organization, the Veterinary Association of the North Shore (VANS). Her involvement in organized medicine includes having been a past president of VANS and current member of the board of directors. She is also a case reviewer for the ABVP and recently joined the Feline Welfare Committee of the AAFP.

Dr. Keefe Ternes lives in Salem with her husband and two college age daughters. Her two senior cats Toby and Petunia keep her on her toes medically.

The Feline Hospital
81 Webb St
Salem, MA 01970

Phone: 978-744-8020
Email: thefelinehospital@gmail.com

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Nine Lives, But Only One Set of Teeth

Jun 23, 2012 by     No Comments    Posted under: Tips & Advice

George, an 8 year old Domestic Short-hair cat, is in my practice today for a full-mouth extraction. This is an oral surgery that involves removal of all of his teeth.

George is a very fine young man, who to all outward appearances is the picture of health, with a beautiful shiny black coat. However, he has a very ugly mouth. George was brought in to see me because he was drooling. My exam showed that George had severe dental disease including loose teeth, teeth that were broken, and very severe wide-spread inflammation in his mouth called stomatitis. His gums were swollen, raw, and bleeding.

Just because your cat doesn’t act sick or painful doesn’t mean that they’re not, and haven’t been so for a very long time, as George has been. On occasion, my clients will tell me ‘My cat has never been to a vet before,’ or ‘But, she doesn’t act sick,’ or opine that ‘Cats don’t need regular check-ups.’ I inwardly cringe, when I hear such statements, as I reflect on the silent and needless suffering that I’ve witnessed in my patients over the years, George included.

Many cat owners fail to bring their cats in for regular exams, because, to their eyes, their little rascal appears to being going through life with stoicism and equanimity. These little creatures that we share our lives with, unfortunately, do a poor job of telling us when they are sick or in pain, and this is especially true of cats who suffer with hidden oral disease and its associated pain.

One very common condition that affects cats is a tooth resorptive lesion. Tooth resorption is a slow, painful, and irreversible process of destruction of the tooth. It leads to exposure of the sensitive inner structures on the tooth in a process that plays out over months to years, eventually leading to the tooth breaking. Pain in affected teeth is the theme throughout this process.

In addition, cats can suffer similar gum and periodontal diseases that affect humans. These may lead to problems in other areas of the body by providing a chronic source of infection and inflammation. Oral tumors and cancers can also occur. Catching these early problems is essential before they become major problems or before it becomes too late.

Cats may have nine lives, or appear to, but they only have one set of teeth.

Maintaining the health of your cat’s teeth and gums is one of the most important things that you can do to increase the quality and length of your cat’s life.  When was the last time you looked in your cat’s mouth? How would you know if she had a loose tooth, a hole in his tooth, severe pain, gingivitis, bleeding and swollen gums, or the beginnings of an oral tumor?

By bringing your cat in for regular and thorough exams, and addressing dental concerns as needed, not only will you be doing your part to lengthen his or her life, but you will also be going a long way to providing an improved quality of life.

I have experienced MANY instances of clients telling me how taking care of their cat’s mouth pain has changed their cat’s lives, attitude, and personality. Comments such as ‘She’s a totally different cat,’ and ‘He’s much more playful,’ are like music to my ears. As I watched George recover from his surgery, in our pediatric incubator earlier today, I felt good in the knowledge that he could look forward to a future without the pain of his past.

Dr Robert Marrazzo

Fellow, American Association of Feline Practitioners Owner and Founder of The Cat Hospital at Palm Harbor Throughout his life Dr. Marrazzo has had, and continues to develop a growing passion and love for cats, as well as an appreciation of their unique nature. He has dedicated his professional career to their care, and to learning more about them. After graduating from Cornell University, he attended the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine, where he was mentored by Dr. Michael Schaer. He received his degree as a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine in 1988, and was awarded the Phi Theta Kappa Award for academic excellence in veterinary medicine and surgery.

After graduation, he actively sought out positions and externships that allowed him to work with leaders in the field of veterinary medicine. He has practiced in both internal medicine, and neurology / neurosurgery practices, and also has an extensive background in emergency medicine and surgery, and critical care.

He is an active supporter in local, state and national feline organizations including the American Veterinary Medical Association, The American Animal Hospital Association, Cornell Feline Health Center, The Veterinary Laser Surgical Society, and the American Veterinary Dental Society. He is most proud of his long affiliation with the American Association of Feline Practitioners, and currently serves on the Executive Board of that organization. He is active locally having volunteered at the Humane Society, and is a Past-President of the Pinellas Animal Foundation. He has been a regular contributor to Ask-A-Vet newspaper column, Healthy Cat Journal, and the Eastlake Heron.

Dr. Marrazzo enjoys continuing education and regularly attends seminars and conferences across the country each year focusing on the latest advancements in feline medicine and surgery. He also enjoys being an educator, not only for his client’s, but he also is currently an Adjunct Professor of Veterinary Medical Technology at St. Petersburg College, where he has discovered a new passion – teaching veterinary emergency and critical care to veterinary technician students.

He is very proud and excited that his two children, Christopher and Kimberly, are pursuing careers in veterinary medicine! He is allowed to share his home with four cats, Al, Gus, Bean, and Lefty, who lost his left ear in a car engine as a stray.

Dr. Marrazzo loves the outdoors and nature. He is an avid bicycle rider, enjoys kayaking, boating, reading mystery novels, and has special interests in history and archeology.

The Cat Hospital at Palm Harbor
2501 Alternate 19 North
Palm Harbor, FL 34683

Phone: (727) 785-2287
Fax: (727)785-2887
Email: staff@wespeakmeow.com

Website: http://www.bobcatdvm.com/
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Not Grooming after Eating

Jun 11, 2011 by     No Comments    Posted under: Tips & Advice

One of the main reasons cats groom themselves after eating is that in the wild, cats want to protect themselves from predators, and want to eliminate any traces of blood that might have collected on their furs as they were hunting or eating.  So, today’s domestic cat carries on what its ancestors did by tidying up after eating.  If you find that your cat is not spending time sprucing up its appearance after a snack or a meal, it is possible that something is wrong.

Dental disease can lead to a decrease in how much a cat grooms, if not a complete stoppage of hair care.  Cats will often continue to eat when they have painful teeth, because many, many cats swallow their food, chewing very little if at all.  But once they have satisfied their bodies need for food, the discomfort they experience from having unhealthy gums or diseased teeth can lead to their deciding it just hurts too much to keep their fur clean.

Older cats who suffer from cognitive dysfunction and stressed out kitties, who are having trouble sharing their homes with other cats, can also not groom after eating like they should.  Your senior cat might need some help in the grooming department and your sensitive cat might need for you to make sure it eats by itself and has some private time when it won’t have to worry about sharing its space with another cat.

If you have a cat that doesn’t groom after eating, it is possible your kitten or cat skipped that class in kitten school, making it normal for your cat not to groom after eating,   To be safe, discuss the fact that your cat doesn’t clean up after eating when you take your cat to your veterinarian for its regular semi-annual or annual visit.  Your veterinarian should perform a thorough physical exam; including taking a good look at your cat’s teeth and gums.

Dr Diane Eigner

Diane Eigner graduated from the University of Pennsylvania Veterinary School in 1980. Dr. Eigner established her exclusively feline practice, The Cat Doctor, in Philadelphia in 1983, and began offering house call services at the Jersey Shore in 1991. She is a past president of the University of Pennsylvania’s Veterinary School Alumni Society, a Past President of the American Association of Feline Practitioners and is a member of the advisory board of Harcum Junior College’s Veterinary Technical School. Diane has been the consulting veterinarian for the Morris Animal Refuge since 1983. Doctor Eigner’s column “Ask The Cat Doctor” appeared in the Cat Fancier’s Almanac from 1996-2000. Diane joined the Catalyst Council’s board as the American Association of Feline Practitioner’s representative in 2009. She is now serving as the immediate past-chair of the Catalyst Council.

An avid Sailor, Diane loves nothing better than to be at the Jersey shore where she keeps her sailboat, Purrfect, and where she has a second home. Since meeting her husband, Fred Turoff, Temple University’s Men’s gymnastics team head coach, her family life has been dominated by men’s gymnastics. Her son Evan is a level ten gymnast that competes nationally and will join her husband’s division I men’s gymnastics team in the fall.. Diane also shares her life with three very entertaining cats. Though she shouldn’t have a favorite, her Sphynx cat, Velvet, which she rescued at the shelter where she consults, is the cat love of her life. Her integrated home also includes a Welsh Corgi named Twinks, two Cornish Rex cats, Naui and Padi and a Russian Tortoise.

The Cat Doctor
535 North 22nd Street
Philadelphia, PA 19130

Phone: (215) 561-7668
Fax: (215) 561-3616
Email: meow@thecatdr.com

Website: http://www.thecatdr.com
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Dental Problems

Jun 9, 2011 by     1 Comment     Posted under: Tips & Advice

Have you or someone you loved ever had problems with their teeth? Dental pain from abscesses, tooth fractures and deep cavities can make life miserable for anyone, including our cats. Pain can be sharp and stabbing, a dull ache, or associated with pressure on contact with hot or cold foods.

Our cats can’t tell us when their mouths hurt. Instead, they may eat less, refuse hard kibbles, or tilt their head back and forth to avoid the sensitive spots when eating. They may drop food. Chronic pain can cause your friendly and happy cat to become irritable or reclusive.

I rechecked one of our dentistry patients today after he had some major dental work done last week. This wonderful cat, who we will call Oscar, was brought in to see us because he had not been as interactive as usual and was hiding quite a bit. On physical examination, we could see that Oscar had quite a bit of inflammation in his mouth but no obvious fractures of his teeth. Oscar seemed uncomfortable when his mouth was examined. We scheduled Oscar’s dental teeth cleaning for the next day.

Cats frequently develop cavity lesions at the gum line or underneath the gums. Consequently, obtaining dental X rays is very important to evaluate every cat’s mouth. Any dental work in cats and dogs needs to be performed under anesthesia as they will not sit there and open their mouths for us to work on!

Oscar had 2 abscessed teeth (both of his lower canine teeth) and 3 additional teeth with large cavity lesions. All 5 teeth had to be extracted. Oscar was treated with antibiotics and pain medication.

At today’s follow up examination, Oscar is now pain free. He is eating his dry kibble with gusto and is no longer painful when handling his mouth. Oscar’s extraction sites are healing well. Oscar’s family is amazed that he is now back to his normal social self less than a week after major extractions were performed. Oscar is a great example of how important good dental health is for our cats. Oscar will now be having his teeth brushed and will be eating a prescription dental diet to help prevent future problems. What are doing to help your cat’s teeth? Oscar says to have your cat’s teeth evaluated by your veterinarian now!

Dr Tammy Sadek

Dr Tammy Sadek is board certified in Feline Practice by the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners. Dr Sadek graduated at the top of her veterinary class at the University Of Minnesota College Of Veterinary Medicine. She has practiced feline medicine and surgery for over 25 years. Dr Sadek is the owner and founder of two cat hospitals in the Grand Rapids, MI area, the Kentwood Cat Clinic and the Cat Clinic North.

In addition to her cat hospitals, Dr Sadek hosts a website www.litterboxguru.com dedicated to helping cat owners prevent and correct litter box issues along with other behavioral issues with their pets.

Dr Sadek is the author of several chapters in the book Feline Internal Medicine Secrets. Her professional interests include senior cat care, internal medicine, feline behavior, and dermatology.

Dr Sadek is currently owned by 5 cats. In addition to caring for all her feline friends, Dr Sadek enjoys traveling, jewelry making, reading fantasy and science fiction, and gardening. She lives in Grand Rapids with her husband and two soon to fledge children.

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Excessive Drooling

Jun 4, 2011 by     69 Comments    Posted under: Tips & Advice

When cats drool, we should always wonder what is causing this symptom.  Although some cats will drool when they are purring excessively and really comfortable, most drooling cats are having a problem that needs our attention.  An outdoor access kitty may have some of the most serious culprits to blame such as a broken jaw, or some other head trauma, including battles with other animals.  Indoor only cats can avoid these episodes but may still have reason to drool excessively.  In many cases the drooling is directly due to pain, so it  should be addressed immediately.

Dental disease is the most common reason to drool for indoor only cats.  This type of drooling is often associated with a foul odor and sometimes even blood in the drool.  These additional findings at home absolutely dictate that the cat be examined immediately.  Most cats are not receiving home care (getting their teeth brushed daily!) and most owners do not inspect their cats teeth with any frequency at all.  Genetics are the primary factor in a cat’s tendency to develop dental disease and  some studies indicate as many as two thirds of cats have dental lesions by age 3.  Resorptive lesions of the teeth are the most common type of dental disease in a young cat.  In addition to these common resorptive lesions, we also see classic periodontal disease of the mouth where tartar has invaded the gum line and destroyed the periodontal ligament.  The difficulty of home care and the reluctance of cats to allow oral inspection dictate that they have an oral exam often; and, that we are proactive with dental prophylactic cleanings to identify and minimize these problems.  Drooling will commonly be seen with all forms of dental disease, including infectious stomatitis, peridontal disease and odontoclastic resorptive lesions.

Another cause of drooling in an indoor only cat would include an oral mass.  We do see mouth cancer in cats and early treatment is crucial to success.  Unfortunately many oral cancers do not leave us with favorable treatment options.  These cats often have swelling of their face, and sometimes even a deviation of their normal jaw alignment.  If your cat allows, open and close their mouth as you look from the front.  The jaws should “go together” nicely and then we know the cat has proper dental occlusion.  Sometimes, periodontal disease will cause swelling of the face and poor dental occlusion.  A veterinarian can help you differentiate these causes upon oral exam.  Any excessive drooling should be seen by the doctor, especially if poor dental occlusion is noted. Mouth cancer is most common in older to middle aged cats, rarely seen before about 7-8 years of age.

Indoor only cats sometimes get bored and I have seen foreign bodies lodged in the oral cavity.  I removed a sewing needle that had imbedded in the hard palate of a bored indoor only kitty.  I also removed a very stubborn twigg that had lodged in an outdoor access cat’s mouth.  Both if these cats had excessive drooling and the drool had begun to smell foul.  Fortunately, they both recovered very well.  It is worth mentioning that all causes of excessive drooling seen in the indoor only cat can also be seen with outdoor access kitties.

The final cause of drooling to cover is drooling due to nausea.  Many cats are nauseous, even though they do not vomit.  Some cat doctors even go as far as to say that inappetance or anorexia is the most common sign of nausea.  Many of these cats will drool either periodically or consistently.  If a cat drools when food is placed in front of them, and they then do not consume the food, nausea should be considered.  Causes of nausea are numerous and many cases have multiple causes.  As you can see from this blog, a drooling cat should be seen by a veterinarian very soon after the symptom is noted.

Dr Michael Ray

Dr. Ray is a Marietta Georgia native and graduate of Osborne High School. He received his bachelor of science at Georgia Southern University, and went on to graduate with his Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine from the University of Florida in 1997. After graduation, Dr. Ray completed an internship in Small Animal Medicine and Surgery at Animal Specialty Group in Los Angeles.

Dr. Ray has spent most of his career working in Feline Only hospitals, and is very excited to have the opportunity to own his own cat practice. Dr. Ray has been the Medical Director of The Cat Clinic of Roswell since March 2008.

The Cat Clinic of Roswell
1002 Canton Street
Roswell, GA 30075

Phone: 770-552-PURR (7877)
Fax: 770-552-8855
Email: info@catclinicofroswell.com

Website: http://www.catclinicofroswell.com/
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