What to Look for When Examining Your Cat’s Teeth

It’s easy to recognize if your cat has a broken leg, but how about a broken tooth? You would think pets would stop eating when they had oral problems. Unfortunately, this is not usually the case. By the time most owners recognize oral disease in their pets, the problem is chronic and progressive.

So what can a loving cat owner do?

Monthly examinations of your cat’s mouth are easy and can be rewarding. If you are not sure, check with your veterinarian to make sure your cat is friendly enough for a safe oral exam. It is best to place your cat on a well-lit, sturdy table. Exams performed on the floor can be difficult and unrewarding. A brief oral exam should only take a minute or two. Most pets are easy to work with. If your cat growls anytime during the exam or seems irritated, it would be wise to stop.

Before opening your cat’s mouth, examine the face for swelling, especially below the eyes. Frequently a broken upper fourth premolar tooth will cause an abscess that may spread below either eye. Fractures of the upper canines (fang or eye teeth) can also cause swelling on top of the nose. Next, feel around the neck below the ears. Abnormal swelling of this area can occur from infection, cancer, or inflammation.

Next, take a whiff of your pet’s breath. How? Gently pull the lips back to expose the side of your pet’s teeth and gums. If there is a foul odor, care is often needed. Since cats cannot brush their own teeth, gingivitis and periodontitis are the most common diseases affecting our feline friends. Reddening of the tissue where the gum meets the tooth may represent inflammation, infection, or trauma. In cases of advanced periodontitis, there may also be bleeding and discharge from the gums. Treatment of gingivitis consists of cleaning and polishing the teeth to remove built up plaque. Depending on the degree of periodontal disease, surgery may also be needed to remove pockets that develop around teeth. Daily brushing is usually easy and essential to control gingivitis.

Urban Animal Veterinarian Hospital in the Houston Heights
If you find anything concerning, schedule an appointment at Urban Animal Veterinary Hospital, so we can have a look and help guide you with what should be done next.

About the author: Hilary Granson

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