Contrary to popular belief they are not just small dogs. Many of our feline friends live their entire lives with minimal dental problems and all they require is a routine cleaning once a year to maintain excellent oral health.
Unfortunately, others are troubled with some very specific diseases that are rarely seen in dogs, but quite prevalent in cats. For example, Feline Odondoclastic Resorptive Lesions or FORL’s affects nearly 50% of all cats older than 3 years of age. These lesions are the gradual erosion of teeth starting from the outer enamel layer and moving inward. As the deeper layers of the teeth become involved these lesions can become quite painful and prone to infection. Because FORLs often occur right at or just below the gum line, they can be difficult to see and diagnose without a thorough oral exam and dental x-rays performed under anesthesia.
Cats are also at risk for severe pain, redness and swelling of their gums called stomatitis. Certain viruses or an over-reaction of the immune system to bacteria and plaque may be underlying causes of stomatitis.
It is part of our mission during each dental cleaning to thoroughly evaluate each of our cat patient’s 30 teeth for these conditions and several others. The doctors and staff at West Park Animal Hospital love our cat patients and want to make sure their care is as individualized as it is for our dog patients.