Tagged with " dental health"

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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To Feed or Not To Feed – Canned Food – That is the Question!

Apr 9, 2012 by     7 Comments    Posted under: Tips & Advice

Part 1: A Hefty Debate

Last year, a study including 450,000 cats was released called “State of Pet Health 2011 Report”. In that study, obesity ranked in the top three diagnoses for cats. The study also found that the incidence of diabetes in cats over the last five years has increased by 16% – not surprisingly, the two are related. They are both related to diet, as are several other medical issues we see in cats. This makes a cat’s diet one of the most important parts of good preventive health.

Over the past few decades, with increasing vigor, veterinarians and animal nutritionists have been debating the merits of dry foods (kibble) versus canned foods. One downside to feeding dry foods is that even though all commercially available diets are formulated to meet certain nutritional standards, dry food is quite the opposite of what cats naturally need. (Click here for more on feline obesity and diet from Dr. Lund.) The best way to encourage weight loss in a cat is to minimize the dry food and feed most calories as canned foods. Two recent studies were released this year demonstrated that the addition of water to similar diets resulted in weight reduction and increased activity1, 2

The bottom line: Canned food is more like a cat’s natural diet in consistency, nutritional content and caloric density. Canned food will help your cat lose weight and keep it off. And most cats just plain like canned foods better!

Part 2: The Tooth of the Matter

In the past, many veterinarians made the recommendation to switch from feeding canned diets to feeding dry kibble for the sake of cats’ dental health; a canned-food-only diet was the prime suspect for the poor dental hygiene seen in the majority of cats. In 2011, in the “State of Pet Health 2011 Report”, the number of cats with dental disease surpassed the number of healthy cats seen after age 3 (over 50% of cats!), making it the most common feline disease.

The reality of feline dental disease is that genetics has a large part to play in your cat’s oral health, just as it does in humans. While canned food really does not help eliminate plaque and tartar, neither do many of the commercially available dry foods, either! Most of the commercially available dry diets have kibbles that are small enough that cats will gulp them down whole. More recent research has shown that in order for a dry food to help with dental care, a larger-sized kibble, typical in special diets designed specifically for oral health, is required3. Larger kibbles allow for more tooth penetration and “scraping” of the tooth. Some of these special diets also have anti-plaque additives that help. Some diets advertise anti-calculus agents, too, but these do not seem to help. Once the plaque has hardened, it seems a professional dental cleaning is the best way to get the teeth clean again.

If you try out a dental diet, you will notice that your cats are significantly noisier when they eat – suddenly, you will be able to hear the crispy crunching sound of food being chewed, when before, the only dinnertime sound was the tink-tink-tink of kibbles being pushed around in the bowl.

The bottom line: Canned food is not your cat’s oral enemy, and not just any dry food will help keep their teeth healthy. A combination of special dental-focused diets and annual oral exams by your veterinarian are the best team for cats’ teeth.

Part 3: Litter-ally a Matter of Concentration

If you consider the cat’s natural diet, a rodent is about 70-78% water. Dry food contains about 10% water. Cats are descended from desert animals, so their instinct is to take in water from their prey versus looking for water sources. While a cat will noticeably drink more water when feeding a dry food versus a canned food, they never drink enough to compensate for the lack of moisture in their food, and will exist in a perpetual state of mild dehydration. In fact, their water intake is about ½ that of a cat that eats canned food, even if you have a cat fountain, give your kitty a “princess cup”, put ice in the water bowl, or let your cat drink from the faucet.

Mild dehydration, while not life threatening on its own, does mean that cats produce less urine than if they are well-hydrated, and that urine is more concentrated. Overly concentrated urine has been linked to urinary issues such as bladder stones or urinary crystals. Urine concentration is a measurement of how much “stuff” is in the bladder. The more “stuff” there is floating around in there, the more likely it is to stick together. The more it sticks together, the bigger it gets, until it starts to irritate the lining of the bladder as it sloshes around. Blood may or may not be visible in the urine. This irritation makes urinating an unpleasant event and may cause your cat to choose to eliminate somewhere other than the litterbox. (More information about litterbox issues from Dr. Colleran.) If the “stuff” gets too big, it may even cause a blockage in the urethra, which can become an emergency very quickly.

The bottom line: More water is better for your cat’s urinary health, and the best place to get it is from a canned diet.

1. Cameron KM, Morris PJ, Hackett RM, Speakman JR. The effects of increasing water content to reduce the energy density of the diet on body mass changes following caloric restriction in domestic cats. J Anim Physiol Anim Nutr (Berl). Jun 2011;95(3):399-408.
2. Wei A, Fascetti AJ, Villaverde C, Wong RK, Ramsey JJ. Effect of water content in a canned food on voluntary food intake and body weight in cats. Am J Vet Res. Jul 2011;72(7):918-923.
3. Clarke, DE, et al. Effect of Kibble Size, Shape and Additives on Plaque in Cats. J. Vet. Dent. Summer 2010; 27(2): 84-89

Dr Steven Bailey

Dr. Steven J. Bailey founded Exclusively Cats Veterinary Hospital in 1992. He obtained his Bachelor of Science and Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine from Michigan State University in June of 1986. After graduation, Dr. Bailey practiced emergency medicine for 8 years prior to establishing Exclusively Cats. Dr. Bailey is one of two veterinarians in the state of Michigan and the only veterinarian in Southeastern Michigan that has been board certified by the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners as a Feline Specialist (ABVP). His special interests include complicated medical/surgical cases as well as critical care, advanced dentistry, and behavioral medicine. Dr. Bailey is an active member of the American Association of Feline Practitioners (AAFP), American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), he is a current council member of the Southeastern Michigan Veterinary Medical Association (SEMVMA). He is also an Associate Editor of the Feline Internal Medicine Board on the Veterinary Information Network (VIN), invited member of VMG #18 (The only feline exclusive Veterinary Management Group) and MOM’s group (Macomb/Oakland Management Group). In his free time, Dr. Bailey is an avid kayaker (some may even call him “obsessed”) and an instructor in both canoe and kayaking sports. He also enjoys running and spending time with his family. Dr. Bailey and his wife Liz have 2 adult children, Christopher and Kayla, 3 cats, Tic Tic, Sapphire and Lacey, and one dog, Charlotte.

Exclusively Cats Veterinary Hospital

6650 Highland Road

Waterford, MI 48327

Phone: 248-666-5287

Fax ‎206-333-1135

ecvh@exclusivelycats.com

Website: http://www.exclusivelycats.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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