Max and Mandy live in a three-bedroom home with their five-year-old cat Minx. Minx may have put on a couple of extra pounds in the last year, but she’s still as spry as she was as a kitten.
She eats a steady diet of dry food, and she’s never gone outside. Max and Mandy trade off the responsibilities of taking Minx to her annual vet visit, and so far, neither has had a problem. Max texted Mandy a few years ago when the vet urged them to schedule dental check-ups for cats, but Mandy dismissed the extra charge — especially given how young Minx was.
Six months after Minx’s last vet visit, Max noticed that Minx was lethargic and seemed to be in pain. They rushed her to the nearest ER where they learned that Minx had a life-threatening heart infection.
The infection originally started as a tooth abscess that allowed dangerous bacteria to enter the bloodstream and travel to the heart. Minx was ultimately saved by her human’s quick action, but the pressure put on all parties (plus the ER bills) was significant.
If Minx was on a wellness plan with a dental health check, the vet could have caught the problem long before it was a danger to Minx’s life. It would have meant that Max and Mandy could have skipped the ER bills and spent the money on something a little more fun and a lot less stressful.
There are a number of common dental conditions that can arise if you ignore your cat’s dental health:
Studies show that 70% of cats show signs of periodontal disease by the time they turn three years old. Cats have natural defences to keep their mouth healthy (without the help of X-rays and toothbrushes), but those defences ultimately aren’t enough to fend off all serious problems.
Taking a cat to the vet once a year is preventative care at its finest, but if you’re not thinking about total wellness, you’re still exposing your cat to health problems. A wellness plan with dental health check can be the best way to get more from your annual visit (without having to think about it again for a full year afterwards).
Dental check-ups for cats will vary based on a number of variables:
For instance, if your cat is over six years old, it is more likely to get feline tooth resorption. If your cat eats mainly wet food, they may be more likely to develop gum disease. You’ll need to talk to your vet to learn more about how often to address your cat’s dental health.
However, no matter their diet or breed or age or just how healthy they seem, experts recommend at least dental visits at least once a year.
Different vets will have different procedures, but a check-up may include any of the following:
After your cat’s check-up, if the vet advises your cat needs to have a dental, this process is similar to you going to the dentist. The only difference is this is done under a general anaesthetic. You need to remember that cats are not so good at sitting still and holding their mouth open.
At this time, the vet will give your cat’s teeth a thorough scale and polish, remove any teeth that may cause problems, and most veterinarians will also take X-rays of your cat’s teeth to check for tooth damage underneath the gumline, which we can’t see.
Besides scheduling annual dental check-ups, here are a few tips to help you keep up with their care.
Not all cats will allow their owners to brush their teeth, but some will. Ask your vet to provide specific instructions on the best way to do this, but the general process is not all that different from the techniques you would use for your own teeth.
Your cat knows how to hides its pain. Before your cat became domesticated, it was extremely important for them to appear strong — even when they were feeling anything but. So unless it’s absolutely unbearable, your cat will just learn to live with it. It means owners never get the warning signs they need to treat their pets until the problem gets serious.
If you’re looking for a better way of keeping your pet from serious dental conditions, consider getting a pet wellness plan that includes the preventative dental care your cat needs. We provide individualised pet wellness plans to mitigate certain emergencies. They are tailored by your vet for your pet’s needs and give you some peace of mind. Ask your vet about Knose Wellness Plans today!