Re: Kitty dentistry
posted at 8/4/2010 11:50 AM EDT
Re weight loss: test for hyperthyrodism - this is done by getting a blood test for T4. And if the T4 comes back at all "high or on the higher range of normal" then have them do a 'free T 4 test' to check, because that's the most definitive test for hypothyrodism.
then, if your cat is healthy from all blood tests and your sense of his health (you know your cat) then I'd consider having his teeth cleaned. Many cats (esp. indoor cats that don't chew on bird bones et al) end up with serious teeth issues. Tarter buildup sounds like no big deal, but actually it will encourage the gums to get infected, and infections in the mouth can cause real problems, as the infection can get into the blood stream. We now know that dental issues cause many health problems in humans, and it would also follow for cats and dogs.
Now, your cat probably won't be able to get rid of tarter if it's on the back teeth (although if your vet will try to clean it with fingernail or a dental pick that would be great, and maybe it's possible, if so, I'd have that done) it's not going to be easy to get it off with greenies and hard food.
And, tarter will increase and eventually perhaps your cat will end up really NEEDING his teeth cleaned and by then he'll be a few years older, and it's harder and harder to put a cat under as they get older as it gets less safe.
If you want a great vet in the Maryland area (Laurel, MD) then call North Laurel Animal Hospital. http://www.nlah.com
Dr Bob Cohen is fabulous, we're new clients but we've been really unhappy with another vet down here, and now we are very happy. I know you're in VA but perhaps it's worth the trip?
I hear you, I totally do, about being worried about anesthesia. I've had two different cats have dentals done, and been happy with all of those - the cats were probably somewhere between 5 and 9 yrs old - my current 18 yr old cat has had a dental done twice in her life - and even had to have teeth removed because they were so decayed. At the same time, I was brought up with a gazillion cats and my mother has probably only had about 8 cats need dentals in 20 + years (seriously a gazillion, when I was in 2nd grade we had 12 cats because one female had just had a litter).
Some cats have teeth problem tendancies, while others are just fine for 20 years without it! But I did have a cat who was about 10 or so put under for another procedure and he never got better - found out that his kidneys were a problem and he couldn't get rid of the anesthesia properly for a few days and by then the kidneys were in real trouble, so I did have to put him down. So can you have his kidneys tested to see if they are fine, too? that would be 1 more test just to be sure.
I've had that done with my 18 yr old cat to see if her kidneys are healthy - it's an easy urine test.