Tagged with " teeth"

Tough Talk About Teeth

Jan 17, 2013 by     3 Comments    Posted under: Tips & Advice

Can you imagine what your mouth would look like if you went 35 or so years without brushing your teeth?  I suspect you wouldn’t be having a second career as the “kissing bandit,” and you’d probably also be in the market for some good denture adhesive.  “Tuna breath” isn’t necessarily a term of endearment!

Most of us don’t feel right if we haven’t brushed our teeth at least once a day…but what if we’re a cat without any access to a tooth brush, floss and toothpaste? What would that feel like?

If your cat has gone more than 6 years without a cleaning, that’s the human equivalent of not brushing for 35 years.  Yuck!

I saw an absolutely beautiful cat named Rufus last year, and just like his name implies he had a very fluffy and foxlike orange coat, which he clearly fastidiously groomed and kept in tip-top shape.  He was in for a regular check up, and during his physical exam, I noticed that he had some inflammation along the gum line and a little tartar and plaque build up.  His parents and I talked about getting him in for a dental cleaning procedure, and at age 4 he was actually a little older than the typical age when we start to do cleanings.  Anyway, life got in the way for Rufus and his owners, and that cleaning appointment got rescheduled, and rescheduled again, and then finally forgotten.

Fast forward to last month, and beautiful Rufus was in for his annual exam.  He’d lost about a pound, which to put into perspective is about 10 pounds or so for us, and his previously shiny and gorgeous coat was looking a little ragged and matted.  Rufus also was accompanied by a pronounced and fairly nauseating odor, which was centered around his mouth.

Sweet Rufus cried when I opened his mouth to check things out, and what I saw was a real testimonial to the power of time.  His gums were red and angry, and had receded from his teeth to such an extent that the roots were visible.  The tartar and plaque I’d noticed last year had significantly worsened, and there were visible cavities surrounded by swollen gums.  Most ominously, the back of his throat was fiery red and obviously sensitive.  His folks reported that Rufus was hesitant chewing food and swallowing seemed an effort.  In fact, they thought he was spending much less time grooming himself than he usually did, and mouth pain seemed the likely culprit.  All in all, he had changed from a vibrant and happy youngster into a hesitant, stand-offish individual.

Could this be fixed?  Clearly, we needed to try something to see if we could stop Rufus’s deterioration and distress.  First step was scheduling Rufus for an in-depth evaluation of his mouth while he was under anesthesia—this hurt way to much to even consider doing the probing while he was conscious!  Second step was using medicines to manage his pain and discomfort until we could fully address his problems during his dental procedure.  This time there was no hesitation—Rufus got his appointment secured—stat!

The morning of his oral surgery, Rufus was anesthetized and bundled up into a warming blanket as a breathing tube was eased down into his throat.  What I saw when I slid my dental probe into the junction between his teeth and his gum line was shocking.  Basically, all the necessary attachments between the tooth roots and the bone were missing.  X-rays confirmed that the resulting bone loss was so severe that it could not be reversed. These teeth could not be saved.  His gums were so inflamed and irritated that even a gentle touch was enough to create bleeding, and there were several pockets of active infection.  No wonder our poor boy didn’t want to eat!

Cats have 30 teeth, 12 of which are those tiny teeth in between the big fangs.  This is just a few more than we humans have.  Most of us don’t want to lose our teeth and false teeth are only a last resort when all else fails.  So even thinking about removing most of Rufus’s teeth just didn’t sit well with his parents.  But did we have options?

I know cats feel better and are happier when their mouths don’t hurt them.  But what I saw when I probed Rufus’s teeth meant we had a situation where our only solution was radical.  What I was proposing was the extraction of every single one of his 30 teeth.  Was this too extreme?  Could he eat?  Would he look funny?

Reluctantly, Rufus’s parents gave the OK and we began the long process of gently and thoroughly removing every single tooth he had, down to the last root tip. We also surgically biopsied a small piece of tissue at the center of the worst area of inflammation, to try and make sure that the swelling and redness wasn’t caused by anything potentially aggressive, such as a cancer.  This kind of dental surgery takes time, and my staff made sure Rufus was kept warm and hydrated, and that his pain medications never ran out.

Hours later, Rufus was in the recovery stage of the procedure, and wrapped in enough warm towels to make any self-respecting cat happy!  So far, so good.  But what could we expect in the days and weeks to come?

Continue to Tough Talk About Teeth – Part 2

Dr Cathy Lund

Cathy Lund, DVM, owns and operates City Kitty Veterinary Care for Cats, a cat practice located in Providence, RI. She is also the board president and founder of the Companion Animal Foundation, a statewide, veterinary-based nonprofit organization that helps low-income pet owners afford essential veterinary care. She lives in Providence, and serves on several architectural and preservation commissions in the city, and is on the board of directors of WRNI, RI’s own NPR station. But her favorite activity is to promote the countless virtues of the “purr-fect” pet, the cat!

City Kitty
18 Imperial Pl # 1B
Providence, RI 02903-4642

Phone: (401) 831-6369
Email: email@city-kitty.com

Website: http://www.city-kitty.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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Achoo! Achoo!

May 13, 2012 by     1 Comment     Posted under: Tips & Advice

We all know what  a sneeze sounds like whether it is from a you or your cat. A sneeze  results from irritation in the nose, which is called rhinitis. An important part of the respiratory tract’s defense system, a sneeze is a reflex action made up of two parts. The first is an irritation within the nasal passages that causes release of inflammatory chemicals, which sensitize the nerve endings, sending a message to the brain. That triggers a series of steps resulting in air being forcibly expelled through the nose.

The sneeze reflex is the same regardless of the cause. However, characteristics of the sneeze point to the cause. If your cat’s sneezes are short with no, or clear, spray discharge and is otherwise healthy, then most likely he is suffering from an allergy or minor irritation. Plug in air fresheners, kitty litter,household products and plants(, especially cut flowers) are common causes of allergies in cats. Even indoor cats can be affected by pollen which comes in through open windows or on clothing. There are many options for treating allergic rhinitis, but the first step is to identify and remove the culprit. If that is not possible, there are many anti-allergy products that can be used safely in cats as directed by your veterinarian.

Sometimes the sneeze is accompanied by a thick greenish-yellow discharge or runny eyes. This is usually indicative of an upper respiratory infection. If your cat also shows signs of not feeling well ( eating less, decreased energy, noisy stuffy breathing), then a visit to the doctor is the next step. Most infections are viral. Two viruses that cause the majority of upper respiratory infections are feline herpes virus and calici virus.  Veterinarians recommend that ALL cats get vaccinated against these viruses because they are quite hardy. They can live outside the body for 7-14 days and you can bring them home( via clothing, hands, or objects.) Often viral infections can be treated the same way as the common cold in humans. Occassionally however, there are complications. In rare cases, calici virus can cause serious, if not life-threatening, disease.  A thorough physical exam and consultation with your veterinarian will result in the best plan for a speedy recovery for your kitty.

Uncommonly  a sneezing cat will   have a discharge out of only one nostril. Sometimes the sneezing will be bloody. This type of sneeze can be indicative of a variety of problems. Your cat may have something stuck up its nose.( Grass seeds are a common nasal foreign body in outdoor cats.) , Sneezing may point to a dental problem; often an abscessed tooth. The roots of a cat’s upper teeth lie very close to the nasal passages. The sneezing can be the result of infection or inflammation surrounding the tooth affecting the nose.  Unilateral nasal discharge and sneezing  also can be indicative of chronic rhinitis – the result of having had an upper respiratory infection that damaged the nasal passages. In rare circumstances in older cats, one sided sneezing and discharge may point to a developing nasal tumor.The diverse reasons for sneezing often require a diagnostic work-up by your veterinarian. The prognosis and treatment plan will depend on the diagnostic results and interpretation.

Although it is  a simple reflex action, the sneeze is an important sign.. Its character is a clue to the cause of your cat’s sneezing and to the best treatment . Your cat’s doctor is the best resource for a successful plan to eliminate your cat’s sneezing problem.

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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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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How to Properly Brush Your Cat’s Teeth

Feb 20, 2011 by     1 Comment     Posted under: Tips & Advice

A brief tutorial presented by Dr. Dale Rubenstein of A Cat Clinic, in Germantown MD, on how to properly brush your cat’s teeth.

Our recommended brand of feline toothpaste is CET, which should be available from your local veterinarian or pet store.

Visit us at http://www.acatclinic.us or call 301-540-7770 for more information.

Dr Dale Rubenstein

Dr. Rubenstein opened the doors of A Cat Clinic, the first all-feline veterinary practice in Montgomery County, in 1986. She earned her BA in Biology from Oberlin College, her MS in Nutritional Biochemistry from the University of Maryland and her DVM from Purdue University School of Veterinary Medicine. She became board certified in feline practice, one of only 80 diplomats in the U.S., through the American Board of Veterinary Practices (ABVP) in 1996 and re-certified in 2006.

Dr. Rubenstein is also a member of the American Association of Feline Practitioners (AAFP), American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), Maryland Veterinary Medical Association (MVMA), Cornell Feline Health Center, Montgomery County Humane Society Feline Focus Committee, Montgomery County Veterinary Medicine Association, as well as a member of the credentialing committee of the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners (ABVP).

A Cat Clinic, Boyds, MD
14200 Clopper Road,
Boyds, MD 20841

Phone: 301-540-7770
Fax: 301-540-2041
Email: messages@acatclinic.us

Website: http://www.acatclinic.us/
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