Dog and Cat Dental Problems

At Bothell Pet Hospital, the same dental problems are often found in both cats and dogs and frequently go unnoticed or overlooked. Unfortunately, this also means they are significantly under-treated.  In honor of Dental Health Month all throughout February, we are offering 10% off on all pet dental services — just call us at 425-486-3251 to schedule an appointment. Here are two examples of recent dental cases we’ve treated:

Fern the Dog

In December 2010, Fern, a five-year-old Chihuahua-Pomeranian mix was bitten on the face by a large dog.  The bite did not seem too bad upon first examination given that there were only a couple of small puncture wounds visible.  But it was soon apparent that something was wrong with Fern’s jaw.

Fern was referred for a CT exam by board certified radiologist, Dr. Bob Kramer.  The CT revealed a fractured mandible caused by the bite, and weakness in the jaw secondary to bone resorption due to dental disease.  Fern’s owners took her to Dr. Greg Dupont, a board certified veterinary dentist.  Dr. Dupont performed surgery to repair Fern’s fracture using a wire and acrylic fixture attached to her teeth.  This stabilized the fracture allowing the jaw to heal.

Fern’s owners knew that she had dental tartar and was due for cleaning, but they were unaware of the severe bone disease that was not visible as it was hidden under the gum line.  Fern’s case demonstrates the importance of regular dental exams and cleanings to catch disease processes such as hers before they become so advanced.

Bobby the Cat

There are special syndromes that are more common in felines than in canines. One example is tooth resorption lesions. More than 50% of cats over three years old will be affected by tooth resorption.

Tooth resorptions are usually found on the outside of the tooth where it meets the gum tissue.  (See pictures at left). Teeth affected by these lesions will erode and eventually disappear as they are absorbed back into the body. This process can take time and be quite painful for the cat. Some cats may show signs of the problem with excessive salivation, bleeding in the mouth, or difficulty eating, but most cats affected by tooth resorption do not show obvious signs. Many cats do, however, exhibit pain and jaw spasms whenever the lesion is touched.

It is typically up to the veterinarian to diagnose tooth resorption upon oral examination. The cause of tooth resorption in cats is unknown although many theories have been proposed.*

Bobby is a nine-year-old Domestic Shorthair cat that recently came to Bothell Pet Hospital to see Dr. Hsu for a routine annual health examination.  Unbeknownst to his owner, Bobby had tooth resorption on several teeth.  The treatment for resorptive lesions is extraction of the affected teeth to eliminate the source of pain.  Bobby’s owner promptly scheduled for him to have the affected teeth extracted and his remaining teeth cleaned.  The procedure Dr. Hsu performed went well and Bobby is now feeling much better.

*Source material for this article came from an article found on veterinarypartner.com by Dr. Jan Bellows.  

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About Bothell Pet Hospital

Since 1954, Bothell Pet Hospital has been operating as an independent small animal hospital, providing primary veterinary care to cats and dogs in Bothell, Lake City, Lake Forest Park, Kenmore, Woodinville, Mill Creek, Kirkland, Brier, and other surrounding neighborhoods.
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