Q. After our cat Jasmine started drooling, our veterinarian recommended we have all of her teeth removed. I’ve kept cats all my life and they never needed any kind of dental care, so I can’t help questioning the need for such drastic measures.
Serious periodontal disease is among the most common condition veterinarians observe in both cats and dogs. And yes, extraction is by far the most common treatment option for end-stage periodontal disease.
When teeth are undermined by abscesses, undergo irreparable fractures, suffer aching lesions (cats, in particular, get cavity-like lesions at the gumline) or lose so much of their bony anchor that they’re unstable, it’s time to consider extraction.
Though we can sometimes save teeth by applying the same techniques human dentists do (deep cleanings, root planing, root canals, crown restoration, etc.), the rapid progress of dental decline in pets often means we’re too late to rescue them. Add the uncomfortable fact that pet dentistry is expensive and extraction often makes the most sense.
But all her teeth, you ask? Cats can suffer a highly painful condition called idiopathic stomatitis that’s characterized by severe swelling and requires full-mouth extraction.
Given that Jasmine is already telling you she’s in pain (drooling is a common sign of severe oral discomfort), there’s no point in denying that dramatic dental intervention is necessary.
If you’re still unsure, see a board-certified veterinary dentist for a second opinion.
Dr. Patty Khuly has a veterinary practice in South Miami. Her website is drpattykhuly.com. Send questions to firstname.lastname@example.org, or Dr. Dolittler, Tropical Life, The Miami Herald, 3511 NW 91st Ave., Doral, FL 33172.