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Cat Teeth Neck Lesions

cat teeth and whiskers

Cat Teeth Neck Lesions are occurring far more frequently now that 25 years ago. What are they? Doctors, lawyers and dentists etc. like to use fancy language to describe conditions.

A "lesion" (a term we hear about a lot in medicine as it also refers to soft tissue) is a general term that describes an area of the body that is not normal. The abnormality could be due to injury or disease. The word comes from the latin, "laesio", which means an attack or injury.

OK, lesions in the teeth are going to be holes, cracks or bits knocked off. In this instance it refers to holes (eroded areas). Where are these defects? The "neck" of the tooth is the area of the boundary between the gum and the tooth, just below the gum line.

We have then a hole in the tooth just below the gum line. How did it get there? Vets aren't sure. There are a number of theories. But, there has been an large increase, as mentioned, in occurrence, over the past 25 years. What has happened over these years? Is it that vets are more aware of the problem? Is it something to do with the food that cats eat? The accumulation of plaque plays an important part in initiating the onset of this condition, it seems. Humans have plaque. Plaque is food debris combined with salivary protein and bacteria. It causes gum disease (periodontal disease).

The bacteria in plaque like sugars and starches. Sugars are found in foods containing carbohydrates. The bacteria that thrive on this sort of food produce acid. The acid destroys the tooth enamel causing tooth decay (holes in the tooth).

Is it unreasonable to surmise that the greater incidence of Cat Teeth Neck Lesions is due to the proliferation of dry cat food (kibble) which has high levels of carbohydrates in it? Indeed wet cat food has carbs in it as well. Cats don't need carbs as they live off animals (protein and roughage) in the wild. Wild cats don't suffer from Cat Teeth Neck Lesions. My personal and unscientific and untested conclusion is that dry cat food could be the culprit.

Photograph copyright husbandunit (there is no connection with this cat's teeth and the posting) - reproduced under creative commons.

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Anonymous said…
Dry food could, and probably does play a role but my cat just had to have two teeth removed because of "neck lesions" and he has a mostly raw diet. I think it might boil down to good hygeine. Start when they are kittens with regular brushing and annual cleanings or at least check-ups and I'm sure you'll have little to no problems with their teeth.
Anonymous said…
We have a 2-yr old oriental shorthair who's had bad breath since she was a baby. Regular vet checks, regular tooth checks & the vet says "maybe it's just her natural breath". DON'T THINK-SO. Now her gums bleed when i brush her teeth. She is now on antibiotics and soon will go-in for x-rays. We would greatly appreciate if someone could enlighten us. It seems she's too young to have problems like this.
Anonymous said…
Actually, dry cat food is recommended for cats with neck lesions. Wet food can sometimes speed up reabsorption. Dental care is always a good idea, but isn't actually shown to prevent or reverse the condition either. There is some conjecture that excessive amounts of Vitamin D may play a part, but this still hasn't been proven either.
Anonymous said…
My vet said there is nothing you can do. It is a genetic thing.
Michael Broad said…
Some cats are more prone to oral disease than others. That is a genetic inheritance.
Michael Broad said…
Sorry I missed this comment. Oriental SHs are known for genetic predispositions to health issues. I am sure this is early onset of poor dental health is due to a genetic predisposition. See the following post from someone with a similar problem.

Orientals are Siamese cats essentially and Siamese rank as one of the worst for genetically inherited diseases.

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