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Diagnosing Common Cat Dental Concerns

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You want only the best for your feline friend's health, but you may have never considered getting their dental health inspected. That is a mistake that too many cat owners make: there are a variety of dental problems that can cause serious health concerns or even just great discomfort to your cat. Here's how you can diagnose three of the most common.

Tooth Resorption

This painful condition occurs in over 50% of all house cats and it causes their teeth to get destroyed by large and painful lesions. These legions start at the gum line and spread over the tooth. Sadly, it's been impossible to identify what causes this condition which has made prevention difficult.

Basically, regular check ups can spot this problem and help your pet dentist treat the pain and remove the tooth before the problem spreads any further. Common symptoms indicative of tooth resorption include:

  • Inflammation along the gums
  • Tartar along affected teeth
  • Altered behavior, such as a decreased playfulness

The problem with this condition is that it's hard to notice without visibly inspecting your cats gums: something they probably aren't too keen on letting you do. And cats are remarkably stoic and hate showing pain, so it's also hard to gauge their behavior in that regard.

Retained Deciduous Teeth

Sometimes, the baby teeth refuse to come out of a cat's mouth, causing a condition known as retained deciduous teeth. This condition is often hard to spot because most cats lose their baby teeth between three and seven months. However, these stubborn teeth can cause the other teeth to grow improperly, causing overbites, under bites, tooth decay, and even poor jaw position.

Diagnose this condition by watching for these symptoms:

  • Difficulty chewing or closing mouth
  • Strange appearance in the jaw
  • Crooked permanent teeth
  • Regular problems with gingivitis

Treating this condition requires getting an x-ray of the cat's mouth to see if there is a permanent tooth underneath. They will then decide if the tooth is safe to remove and how it will affect your cat's dental health.

Mouth Cancer

Unfortunately, tooth decay is often a condition caused by various types of mouth cancers or carcinomas that can threaten the life of your cat. Symptoms of these dangerous conditions include:

  • Problems eating
  • Bloody mouth
  • Listlessness
  • Weight loss
  • Visible growths in the mouth
  • Broken or loose teeth
  • Swollen jaw
  • Excessive drooling
  • Bad breath

If you suspect that your feline friend is suffering from mouth cancer, take them to a veterinarian or a cat hospital immediately. Many cancers are very quick moving and will metastasize in your cat, spreading to other areas of the mouth and through their body.

A minimum treatment requires a visible inspection of your cat's mouth for growths and a check of their lymph nodes. Often, their lymph nodes will be inspected for swelling and they may even have to get an x-ray.

As you can see, cat oral health concerns can be quite serious, especially if they are left untreated. So if your cat has persistent and severe halitosis or other dental problems (such as loose teeth), it's worth a check up at a cat hospital.