Wednesday 13 July 2022

Tip to check your cat's teeth

Here is a useful tip to check your cat's teeth and gums. In fact, it checks on oral health which is important as feline oral health is a major health issue in domestic cats. It is a hidden problem as it is hard to check your cat's gums. This is the tip! You buy some cotton buds and use one to run it around the gum line. Your cat should accept this 😎 if done quickly and at an opportune moment. I would hold my cat by the scruff of the neck (not too hard) which would 'deactivate' him for a few moments and long enough to employ this technique.

Healthy feline mouth
Image by Pitsch from Pixabay.

If there is blood on the cotton bud and/or your cat shows signs of pain, you can assume that there is a problem and your vet should be booked to take a proper look. Gums should be uniformly pink. If they are blue your cat is anemic.

Ideally you do not want to get this far because, as you might know, if teeth need to be removed your cat will need to be anaesthetised. There is a risk to a cat's health and welfare when they are anaesthetised. I'm sure that you know this but it seems that it is very easy to overlook a cat's oral health.

RELATED: How to check a cat’s mouth for oral health.

Gingivitis is the early stages of gum disease. The gums become inflamed and red. Eventually they bleed. At this point treatment is needed and if not, the health problem progresses to periodontal disease or periodontitis. 

Periodontitis is more serious as bone (jawbone) is irreversibly lost which leads to the teeth becoming loose and being lost as well. Also, the teeth become more brittle and break. An abscess might occur. A linked health condition at this stage is "feline odontoclastic resorptive lesions". These are similar to cavities in our teeth but they are not caused by the same bacteria.

If your cat has a serious oral health problem they will be in pain. They will become anorexic and stop eating. They may drool. Bad oral health can be detected through bad breath, a reluctance to eat, food drop from the mouth and then eaten, pawing at the face or mouth and ruling as mentioned.

Although I never did it myself, I think it would be useful if you adopt a kitten to get them used to a mouth inspection. You know that you can train your kitten to accept all kinds of things which can be highly useful when they are adults. Another thing you can train them to accept is a lead and to walk on a lead. And to accept having their claws trimmed. I missed my opportunity through carelessness but if I had it again, I would train my kitten to accept all the things that are useful to me in providing good care.

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