In honor of national cat day (earlier in the week, sorry I’m late…), I thought I would focus on a problem that over half of adult and senior cats have. Its in their mouth, and it is not fun. Below is a (slightly blurry) picture of a cat whose entire mouth had resorptive lesions on the molars and premolars.
The best tooth to see this on in the picture is the second tooth back at the top of the picture. At the gumline, there is a bloody depression on the tooth mostly involving the root closest to the front of the mouth. This is an oral resorptive lesion, and it is very common in cats.
Most cats don’t have resorptive lesions this bad or this obvious. In many cats, you can’t see the disease because it is below the gumline, the gums are not super red, and the cat doesn’t act like it is in pain. I say “act” because the cat really is painful with these lesions, but cats are great at hiding pain.
What happens is that the cat’s mouth eats away at the teeth (mostly the roots) leaving nothing but a painful tooth with an exposed root and lots of inflammation sitting under the gums. Unfortunately the only way to diagnose it is often to probe under the gums and take an x-ray under general anesthesia. It there is a problem, the tooth will need to be extracted. Unfortunately, there is no other cure.
So, the bottom line is this: Over half of adult and senior cats can have painful erosions of the teeth under their gums. We recommend a full oral exam with x-rays to make sure their teeth are in tip top shape.
– Doc Cleland