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Do you get your cat's teeth cleaned?

(28 Posts)
Flossyfloof Tue 21-Jul-15 12:07:58

Just been for the annual trauma that is booster time with my three cats. They have said that the older one has a significant build up of tartar and suggested a teeth clean.
This involves a pre-med and general anaesthetic, being on a drip, tooth exam, removal of any which need removing, descale and polish, no doubt at an extortionate price.
She is not insured but I doubt if insurance would cover this anyway - presume they would call it general maintenance?
Anyway, the cost is not really an issue but the whole general anaesthetic thing really bothers me. Obviously I don't want my cat to have a sore mouth; she didn't have the best start in life but has the life of Riley with me. She is much loved. A friend's daughter is a vet and she once lost a dog on the operating table from hyperthermia and I suppose this is on my mind as well, a,though not the same situation, obviously.
So - do you have your cat's teeth cleaned? How often?

cozietoesie Tue 21-Jul-15 13:30:07

How old is she?

I'm always careful about cat's teeth - partly due to having had lousy teeth myself and knowing the trouble they cause.

Seniorboy hadn't been near the vet since he was neutered when he came to me and Boy - did his teeth show it. Previous vets had said that there was a problem with his mouth but had demurred from doing anything due to his age and their facilities but when he went to his new (and current) vet, due to being sick a lot, she said that I really had little choice in the matter because they were so horrible - but they had a fair confidence that they could get him through with appropriate fluid support. (They did.) In the event, his mouth was truly ghastly - quite a few of his teeth had actually 'rotted out' (one of the vets who post can give you a technical explanation if they see this thread) and he was finally left with his fangs and one other tooth at the back.

No more problems in the four years since, though, and all his sickness has stopped.

The Lodger went in for a MOT and chipping and this vet also had to clean his teeth and take out a couple where there was a malformation to prevent future trouble. Although he was a young cat - only 3 or 4 at the time - he had raised himself on the streets and despite catching some of his dinners, I suspect, from some 'presents' we were brought, he was also feeding from the local Chinese Restaurant bins - lots of lovely stick sweet sauce on the spare ribs! Covered in tartar they were.

I'd get them done. They're not going to improve any and teeth can be a real problem for older cats. Have a read of this - before you eat lunch. Yes there's a risk with GAs - for all cats - but the risk of dental problems is greater in my mind.

cozietoesie Tue 21-Jul-15 13:30:42


Sparklingbrook Tue 21-Jul-15 13:33:25

Sparklingcat has had 3 dentals in 5 years. it's a PITA but has to be done. She's on crunchies for her teeth but not sure they work. Tried everything.

LaurieFairyCake Tue 21-Jul-15 13:36:38

One cat I did, he had a mouth problem. The others died (at a great age without it)

You're right, it's not covered by insurance.

I wouldn't get another cat unless I was rich again as it costs £480 for teeth cleaning at my vets and I couldn't afford it. I was already paying £40 a month for insurance.

Having pets is horribly expensive now sad

Postchildrenpregranny Tue 21-Jul-15 13:37:00

Cat 1has just had 3 teeth out scale and polish for £280 He's 10 and in good health .They can do bloods and other tests before for about £50
He's had it before as has his sister-both rescue cats.They don't like dry biscuits but it's supposed to help

Lonecatwithkitten Tue 21-Jul-15 13:49:11

Some insurance companies cover teeth, others don't - just get that one out the way.
Cats get a type of carry called a feline oral neck lesion which can be hidden by tartar. These can cause the tooth to snap and leave a painful exposed root in the cats mouth.
Hyperthermia is extremely rare in dogs and beyond extremely rare in cats.
Virtually all cats and dogs who have denials are old. In my practice we perform at least 10 dentals a week. We have lost one cat in 17 years.

Postchildrenpregranny Tue 21-Jul-15 14:12:18

We've stopped insuring ours as its extortionate and yes teeth aren't usually included .Plus there is a big excess and they pay only a % of costs anyway

PinkSparklyPussyCat Tue 21-Jul-15 14:23:16

I was told at H's last check up that he has mild gingivitis but the vet doesn't want to do anything yet. I do know it's coming though. He is insured with Petplan and I know they do cover dental treatment in some cases so fingers crossed!

cozietoesie Tue 21-Jul-15 14:50:30

Unless you can see that there's something up - because, as we all probably know, a tooth can go downhill fairly suddenly - this is probably one to go along with what your vet says, I think. Teeth are certainly one of the things they should be checking at MOT time.

googoodolly Tue 21-Jul-15 15:36:45

Ours are two and a half and have never had proper dental checks. The vet does a quick once-over whenever they go in (a week ago for the boy, about two months for the girl) and has never said that there's anything to worry about.

The boy is on a special diet for cystitis and they both eat the biscuits which is meant to be good for teeth anyway.

cozietoesie Tue 21-Jul-15 16:38:10

Their teeth might be just fine, googoo. The Lodger had led a rough life prior to moving in with us but even knowing that it came as quite a surprise to me given his age. (A worse surprise to my CC but Hey Ho.)

SuperFlyHigh Tue 21-Jul-15 16:42:17

no not current cat but he was a year in August.

however my old cat (now died) when she was 14/15 she refused to eat one day was looking really ill, and she had to have almost all of her teeth out and I think some poison had got into her stomach (through gum disease). I'd get my cat's teeth cleaned before that point.

SuburbanRhonda Tue 21-Jul-15 16:47:40

I'm trying to prepare one of my 13-year-old cats for her dental. She has chronic kidney disease.

The vet said she won't make it through the GA if her kidneys aren't in better shape so she's on a month of kidney diet food (£££ shock) and then they'll have another look.

Does anyone know if it's possible to clean cats' teeth to try to avoid these extortionate dentals?

Corygal Tue 21-Jul-15 16:55:34

I've just had this conversation with a vet - no, you can't clean a cat's teeth. Although it would be funny to see someone try...And you know those special cat dental biscuits you can get? Useless, acc the vet.

Mr C is off for his big dental on Thurs as he has tartar and they reckon he needs a few out. He was homeless before he came to me and although his teeth lasted a good few years once he had a proper diet and endless cuddling, they have packed up a bit now. Also he is FIV which makes cats prone to dental problems.

I wanted to do something to maintain his teeth, but the vet said nothing on the general market is much good. So it's time for the slab.

Lonecatwithkitten Tue 21-Jul-15 17:00:22

Suburban you can prevent tartar build up in young cats, but once it is there the only way to remove it is with an ultrasonic scaler. Try that on an awake cat you would loose your hand. For the time they take most cat/dog dentals are fairly cheap. It is widely acknowledged that vets massively discount the cost of dental treatment to ensure the pets get it. The range in my practice is £150 to £400 and similar time surgical procedure would be £400- 1500.

RubbishMantra Tue 21-Jul-15 17:26:44

I've just had some of this cat toothpaste delivered, on the recommendation of a fellow Lady of the Litter. You just smear it on their paw and they lick it off, the enzymes dissolve the plaque. Apparently they even like the taste of it. You get a little cat's toothbrush that sits on your finger, if you're feeling brave...

googoodolly Tue 21-Jul-15 17:28:26

I'm hoping so Cozie. Both have been in the vets for emergency operations in the last few months as it is!

TheSpottedZebra Tue 21-Jul-15 17:31:33

My cats had their annual today,and one has a broken tooth and needs it out. He's old, (14) and has a heart murmur. sad The vet said that in his opinion, it's worth the risk, which is much smaller than it used to be, due to better monitoring, more info on anaesthetic etc. He'll have a kidney function test beforehand.

The other cat, who is a purry lamb, had a few MASSIVE bits of tartar twanged off. It was an impressive move by the vet.

cozietoesie Tue 21-Jul-15 18:20:37

Seniorboy has a heart murmur, Zebra - and he came through his GA fine at 16. (Although they gave him extra fluid support during it.) You have no choice, really - imagine if you had a broken tooth?

TheSpottedZebra Tue 21-Jul-15 19:20:50

Oh you're right, cozie and I'll book him in tomorrow, but it's awful for him and we'll worry.
And I feel bad that I hadn't noticed his tooth.

cozietoesie Tue 21-Jul-15 19:49:21

Oh I still paced around even though I trust his vet as much as is possible. Just keep on thinking how much better he'll feel afterwards.

(And I haven't seen the full inside of Seniorboy's mouth very often unless he yawns - at which point I receive a fleeting glimpse if I'm conveniently placed. Your lad may be relaxed about it but most of my cats have been extremely 'mouth sensitive' so unless I catch a glimpse or see behaviour which indicates a possible problem, I tend to rely on the vet to check the inside of their mouths. wink)

WhereBeThatBlackbirdTo Tue 21-Jul-15 20:12:47

You could try using Plaque Off. It's a seaweed based (or is it algae based?) powder that you sprinkle on their food. It was recommended by the vet for our dog. The cat, obviously, turned up his nose but might be worth trying.

imabusybee Wed 22-Jul-15 17:55:02

I brush my cats' teeth - once a week if I remember. They don't enjoy it but they tolerate it & hopefully will save me a packet & spare them some pain and misery when they get older. I have four cats - aged between 2 & 5.

cozietoesie Wed 22-Jul-15 18:32:07

It might well help - but I think I'd still be getting their teeth checked regularly, particularly when they're into double figures. (Humans brush their teeth and generally still need dental treatment beyond a certain age - like cats, their teeth aren't really designed for such long use.)

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