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Older cats and teeth

15 replies

Grandmaw · 30/01/2014 09:08

Thomas will be 16 this year. Earlier this month I took him to the vets as he seemed to be having difficulties eating - wanted to eat but after a few mouthfuls would dart away from his bowl as if something had hurt him , then would creep back to the bowl very cautiously, eat some more and then dart away again.
He is being treated for thyroid problems, so sees the vet fairly regularly, and he had already said that his teeth were not very good.
When he examined Thomas this time, he showed me how much tartar there was on his back teeth, and even managed to 'flick' two huge chunks of tartar off! I thought some of his teeth had fallen out!
Anyway, Thomas had an injection, anti- biotic I think and something to help with inflammation. Since then, until yesterday, he had started to eat well again, finishing everything off.
Now, we are back to him trying to eat and then darting away from the bowl again.
Basically, I think he needs to have his teeth cleaned but I am worried about him having a GA at his age.
Anyone had experience of this - was your cat ok after the operation and did it help with their eating?

OP posts:
PestoStormissimos · 30/01/2014 09:13

You must take him to the vet if his teeth are sore. Our old cat was losing weight and we thought it was thyroid problems, but it turned out that her teeth were crumbling away. She had to have some removed and the others cleaned up under general anaesthetic.

She was wobbly for 24 hours or so afterwards, but then she was back to her usual self - except she no longer had difficulty eating. The vet also said that tartar tends to be more of a problem if the cat eats predominently wet food. Dry biscuits are better as they knock the tartar off, apparently.

ScentedScandal · 30/01/2014 09:23

I have a much younger cat (he's only 4) but he had to have his teeth cleaned under GA about 18mnths ago. The vet said that some cats are just more prone to tarter build up (we have another young cat who eats the same and is fine).

The whole thing went well. He bounced back quickly and was so much happier. He'd been very sensitive about anyone touching his head before.

It helps if they have biscuits as part of the diet to crunch on. There is something you can sprinkle on food for teeth cleaning but my cat refused to eat it. Also there is a special 'toothpaste' - put a blob on a paw and the cat licks it off. I cant say we've kept up with that though.

I can totally see why you might be concerned about a GA and his age, but it's not good news either to have tooth problems and be unable to eat. Can the vet reassure you?

BroomstickRider · 30/01/2014 09:24

My late cat had problems with his teeth and had most of them removed when he was 14. He was already in declining health by then but coped with the operation fine and his eating did improve. If you trust your vet, I'd follow their advice. If not, I'd find a different vet

timtam23 · 30/01/2014 20:51

One of my cats had a GA aged 16, not for teeth (although he has always been prone to tartar buildup and has had a couple of scale & polishes when younger, it definitely helped his eating and his bad breath) and he was fine. He had thyroid problems and was considered to be higher risk for a GA because of the thyroid potentially causing heart rate/blood pressure problems but the vet was happy to anaesthetise him. He is now a bit doddery but still with us a year on. Tooth & gum disease can be very debilitating for older cats so I'd see what your vet says.

HelloBoys · 31/01/2014 17:31

My cat about 2 years ago (she's now 17) had to have the vast majority of her teeth out (you can still see front ones though).

very scary one day she just wouldn't eat sat still and had to have emergency op and poison I think had got in and then she had a drip and teeth removed.

Poor thing. she is now on Sheba pate and much better though drinks far more water and loves rain water.

HelloBoys · 31/01/2014 17:32

oh for the crunch stuff I give her Whiskas Anti Hair Ball treats - this also helps stop her getting hairballs.

the op should be fine for them. she was said to have a heart murmur but was fine under anaesthetic.

AbbeyBartlet · 01/02/2014 07:52

He may have to have teeth removed - it happened to one of our boys and he never looked back! He was so much happier and his gums hardened so he was perfectly capable of biting still Grin

Grandmaw · 01/02/2014 20:24

I am going to get a vets appointment for Thomas on Monday.
Yesterday his eating seemed to improve but today he has eaten some breakfast and had nothing since. I have warmed his food, mashed his food, tried different dishes and thrown food away and replaced it with something else which I thought may tempt him.
He is obviously hungry as he comes running when I call him, but each time he approaches the bowl cautiously, tries a mouthful and then backs off. This is what makes me think his mouth may be painful.

OP posts:
cozietoesie · 02/02/2014 20:58

I think that's wise.

Seniorboy had bad teeth when he came to me at 13 but two vets demurred at tackling them because of his age and their facilities. Finally, with his current vet, he started being sick and she said that it was crunch time. She was pretty confident about her team and his mouth was 'orrible'. i had no choice really because rotten teeth can be quite dangerous (to humans and cats both) as well as their not being able to eat and being in pain.

As he was finally 16 when he had them done, it was a serious consideration and the op maybe more expensive than for a younger cat - more staff present and lots of (expensive) IV fluids but he came through very well although with only his canines and one back tooth left. Recovery time was a bit longer as well - they didn't let him go until teatime when they were completely happy with him.

Since then, he's been pretty good. (Now 19.) Eats well, rarely sick and generally a contented cat. Occasional gingivitis but meds take care of that.

If you trust your vet, I'd go for it. Yes a GA always carries some risks but the benefits far outweigh them. And if he's in pain and hungry, it's no life for him right now.

Best of luck - let us know how he gets on.

cozietoesie · 04/02/2014 09:52

How did Thomas get on yesterday - if you managed to get to the vets?

Grandmaw · 04/02/2014 17:20

Cosie thanks for asking about Thomas.
I have to admit that I haven't yet taken him to the vets. After I posted about him not eating , he has eaten everything I have put in front of him , and has even eaten his crunchie biscuits which he hadn't for a while.
I will keep a really close eye on him, and if he has any further problems with eating will take him- the vets is only down the road and I can normally get a 'same day' appointment.
I'm wondering if he has developed a 'thing' about some of his feeding bowls - this lunch time he wolfed his food back, but was scooping some of it out of the bowl with his paw and eating it from the floor!

OP posts:
Rollypoly100 · 04/02/2014 17:35

My lovely boy had to have practically all his teeth out due to calcivirus and stomatitis. He is just 14. The op went very well and he was ready to be picked up at 4.00. Now he is eating loads more including biscuits, really has an appetite and has put on a bit of weight (was a little lean before). New pic on profile.

thereinmadnesslies · 04/02/2014 17:40

My cat had a dental at age 17. I was really worried but he came through fine. The vet did loads of work on his teeth including a few extractions, taking the view that this would probably be the last time. His breath is much better now and he's eating more.

cozietoesie · 04/02/2014 17:49

I have to say, Grandmaw that I'd have him to the vets anyway. (Although with his thyroid issues, maybe he'll be going soon anyway so you can just talk about his teeth anyway while you're there.) Perhaps you're right about his 'thing' or maybe he had an abscess which burst - or something like that. Either way, his teeth aren't going to improve with age so I'd say that if the vet thinks he should be treated, probably best to go for it when he seems a little healthier?

cozietoesie · 04/02/2014 17:50

He's a gorgeous boy, Rolly.


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