Animals are just like humans when it comes to many health issues. Dogs and cats have teeth and they require care in order to keep them healthy. It’s important to maintain your cat’s teeth at home, and with your veterinarian. When your cat’s teeth and gums are neglected, your cat can develop bad dental issues that have the risk of creating overall, health issues. Here are five signs that your cat may be living with dental disease.
Unlike dogs, cats are not known to have bad breath. You typically don’t have worry about the smell of fish on the breath or a rotten smell, so if by chance you catch a whiff of a bad smell on your skin after your cat gives you a friendly lick, you are probably dealing with a cat with a dental issue. Bad breath is one of the first signs of dental disease.
If your cat is experiencing pain from dental disease, it will become more and more difficult for your kitty to eat. You might start to notice a difference in her ability to eat, such as, chewing on only one side of her mouth, dropping bits of food when she eats. These are signs that she is having mouth pain.
Interest in food decreases
Your cat might continue to go up to her bowl like she is interested in her food, because she really does want to eat, however, when there is oral pain, your cat will start to reject her food and walk away from it. If you know your cat will typically start to chow down when fed but suddenly starts to walk away from her food, this is a good sign there is dental disease going on and should be checked by her vet.
Doesn’t want to be touched near her mouth
There are a lot of cats who are finicky about where they let you touch them. But if your cat has always been accepting of, and likes to be rubbed and touched around her face and mouth, but suddenly shows signs of agitation, or hisses or bolts when you touch her around the mouth, this is a sign that her mouth is in pain.
Cats that have dental disease are more likely to drool more than normal, or even start drooling in general. Salivating is common with dental disease and may even contain blood. You might even notice that your cat starts shaking her head or paw at her own mouth, which are both signs of oral pain.
Dental issues are not anything that should be ignored. If you notice any of these signs in your cat, start by lifting her lip around her molars (if she allows you), and check for a yellow-brownish gunk collecting on her teeth. This is known as tartar and needs to be removed. You will want to look for red-coloration to her gums. If you see this, it means that her gums are inflamed and is a sign of gingivitis. Your cat can develop bleeding gums among many other issues that cause her pain and problems if left untreated.
Your cat’s teeth will need a good cleaning and scaling. These procedures are done under general anesthesia and your veterinarian will use specific instruments that will remove the tartar that’s formed on her teeth and just below the gums. Depending on how severe it is, your vet might recommend some teeth be removed altogether due to cavities that have formed, or there may be a weakening of your cats’ bone structure that held the tooth in its socket. After all the cleaning, your vet will polish the teeth and remove any little scratches on the outer layer of the teeth that may eventually lead to tooth decay.
You can help prevent cat dental disease by brushing your cat’s teeth on a regular basis. There are also dental chews in the pet section that you can give your cat to help remove and reduce the tartar build-up. The more proactive you are with your cat’s teeth, the more healthy her teeth will be, and so that they will last her all nine of her lives.