Cat has bad breath and picks at her food

  1. You have chosen to ignore posts from nelson617. Show nelson617's posts

    Cat has bad breath and picks at her food

    My cat wakes me up every morning by sitting on my chest meowing. It is much nicer than it sounds! However, lately her breath is horrible. It has been getting worse, and I am worried. She used to have a voracious appetite, but lately she appears thinner, picks at her food, and usually leaves everything half-eaten. She’s also not grooming herself as much and her fur is becoming matted. What should I do?

     
  2. You have chosen to ignore posts from AngellVets. Show AngellVets's posts

    Re: Cat has bad breath and picks at her food

    Answer by Dr. William Rosenblad of Angell Animal Medical Center's Dentistry Service:

    It certainly sounds as though you have a rather close relationship with your cat -- and this is a good thing! Your closeness means that you are acutely aware of changes in her behavior, which can help identify a medical issue in its early stages.

    Your cat may have dental disease; however, you should bring her to a veterinary dentist for diagnosis. Dental disease, specifically periodontal disease, is the most common ailment affecting pet dogs and cats. The amount and severity of dental disease in our pets can be very surprising. The recognition and treatment of dental disease is all-to-often overlooked by veterinarians and pet owners alike.

    Halitosis, or bad breath, is the most common sign of oral disease. The major cause of halitosis is periodontal disease. This is an infection of the gums and potentially the other supporting structures of the teeth. Plaque builds up every day on the tooth surface, including at the gum line.

    Left in place, the plaque can mineralize, or harden, in less than two days, forming calculus or tartar. The tartar will stick to the tooth surface, forming a scaffold for more plaque accumulation. The continued build-up of tartar, both above and below the gum line, can eventually produce an environment that is a haven for certain types of bacteria that may be more destructive to the periodontal tissues and also produce a more noticeable odor.

    The most obvious visual clue to dental disease is the build-up of tartar on the tooth surface. A much more subtle clue to dental disease is the change in the normal gum lines. Every tooth has a bulge just where the normal, healthy gum meets the tooth. This bulge is normally not a straight line for most teeth. This means that we should see a slight wave of gums along the outside of normal, healthy teeth. If the gums are straight along the tooth, either gingivitis (inflammation of the gums) or gingival recession (loss of normal gum height) is present.

    Gingivitis is reversible, as the inflammation will go away once the cause of the inflammation is addressed. Plaque along the gum line is easily the most common cause of gingivitis. Once the gingiva, or gums, begin to be lost, periodontal disease is present. As in humans, gingival recession is permanent. With gum loss comes exposure of the root surface of the tooth. The root surface is rougher than the crown of the tooth and is therefore more likely to attract plaque.

    In cats, however, gum loss has even more serious repercussions than in humans. The area between the roots of teeth with more than one root is called the furcation. The furcation is much closer to the normal gum line in the teeth of cats. A seemingly small amount of gum loss can cause exposure of the root surface and perhaps even this furcation area, providing even more surface for plaque and tartar on which to adhere.

    What looks like a black spot along the gum line of a tooth is much more likely to be exposed furcation than a "cavity." Cats get caries, or "cavities," much less commonly than do humans. Visualization of the actual bulge or even the exposed furcation area of a tooth is evidence of fairly significant periodontal disease. Tooth loss is more likely as more of the gums and bone supporting the teeth are lost. Noting one of the more severe signs of dental disease, loosening of the teeth, may also be tricky unless one knows to look for it.

    Cats also frequently get a disease that eats away at the teeth, sort of like cavities in humans. The cat version is called Tooth Resorption (or Resorptive Lesions). Unfortunately, there is no known prevention or treatment of these painful, destructive lesions other than extraction of the infected, diseased teeth. Cats will almost always feel much better with these teeth removed.

    There are other signs of dental disease in your pet that may be more subtle. Cats may preferentially choose softer foods, play with chew toys less, and decline crunchy treats. You may notice your pet chewing more on one side of her mouth. She may chew less in general and this sometimes causes the cat to vomit, seen as undigested, poorly chewed food. Increased salivation and pawing at or rubbing the face can be indications of oral pain. She may also groom less frequently, as you have stated.

    It is important to realize that some periodontal disease may not be visible to even the most experienced observer. Sometimes the bone around the teeth is lost faster than, or even without, gum loss. A complete periodontal examination, including dental X-rays, is necessary to uncover all types of periodontal disease. Such a comprehensive dental examination requires anesthesia. You should discuss any concerns you may have regarding anesthesia with your veterinarian. 
     

    I recommend that cats undergo twice-a-year physical and oral exams. Complete physical exams are important to maintaining good dental health. The regular physical exam, which should include a basic oral exam, does not require general anesthesia.
     
  3. You have chosen to ignore posts from buppity. Show buppity's posts

    Re: Cat has bad breath and picks at her food

    my boyfriend's cat, Max, had the same problem - bad breath.  The vet had to extract majority of his teeth becuz it was rotting and now the bad breath is gone.  Good luck :) :)

     
  4. You have chosen to ignore posts from jdancer11. Show jdancer11's posts

    Re: Cat gaining weight

    Any tips on the best way to get a cat's weight down? My cat should lose a pound or two to be at a healthy weight, and I don't want him to get heavier. Thanks.
     
  5. You have chosen to ignore posts from bluesandpiper. Show bluesandpiper's posts

    Re: Cat gaining weight

    In Response to Re: Cat gaining weight:
    Any tips on the best way to get a cat's weight down? My cat should lose a pound or two to be at a healthy weight, and I don't want him to get heavier. Thanks.
    Posted by jdancer11



    This web site has info on how to safely get a cat to lose weight: http://catinfo.org/?link=felineobesity The info is from a vet who has a special interest in proper feline nutrition.
     
  6. You have chosen to ignore posts from CT-DC. Show CT-DC's posts

    Re: Cat gaining weight

    In Response to Re: Cat gaining weight:
    "Any tips on the best way to get a cat's weight down? My cat should lose a pound or two to be at a healthy weight, and I don't want him to get heavier. Thanks.
    Posted by jdancer11"

    Speak to your vet, who will probably suggest spcific food that is higher in protein and lower in carbs... but check out how much your cat really should lose, and expect to do it very slowly.  If you simply give your cat less than you feed now, and increase the exercise you encourage your cat to have (by playing with him) that will help, but sometimes you have to feed too little to be satisfying, and that's when weight reducing food helps - something like we can eat 8 carrots or one dorito for the same calories - which one is more filling? 


     
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