Pets

Extraction the only solution to kitty’s cavities

 

khulyp@bellsouth.net

Q: Our veterinarian told us our cat has cavities on three of her teeth, and that they must be pulled. This makes no sense: Clarabelle eats only cat food, not sweets, and does not seem to be in any pain. Please advise.

A: Feline tooth resorption syndrome, or TR, involves the destruction of dental material by cells called odontoclasts, leading to cavity-like lesions in up to two-thirds of cats.

While human cavities are caused by sugar-eating bacteria that produce tooth-destroying acid, TR has nothing to do a cat’s diet, and we don’t really know what causes it.

The one thing human and cat cavities have in common is that they’re invariably painful. Most cats will display no outward signs of pain even when their teeth are severely affected.

Signs of discomfort such as a messy eating style (food falling outside of bowl), tilting the head when eating (as if trying to chew on one side of the mouth) and regurgitating unchewed kibble soon after eating can be signs of trouble.

Unfortunately, treatment relies on the complete removal of the tooth. In cases where the tooth has been so compromised that the root has been reabsorbed, a crown reduction (eliminating the visible part of the tooth) may be the only required action. (The presence or absence of the tooth’s root can only be determined with dental X-rays.) Complete anesthesia and pain-relieving medications are required.

Sadly, there’s no way around extraction or crown reduction in Clarabelle’s case. The good news is that she’ll absolutely feel better as soon as the offending teeth are removed.

Dr. Patty Khuly has a veterinary practice in South Miami. Her website is drpattykhuly.com. Send questions to khulyp@bellsouth.net.

Read more Pets stories from the Miami Herald

  • Old pets, new chances: The case for senior adoption

    Perhaps Moses and Harry realize how fortunate they are. But if they do, they're not talking.

  • Pet Vet: Constant cough is hard to diagnose

    Barley Boy was one of the lucky few older dogs at the local animal control facility. He was adopted. It was estimated that he was about 9 years old, and the guess was he was a mixed breed terrier. His new family has been caring for him for almost four months and he fits in very well in his new digs.

  • Animal Island: How to keep pigeons away from the bird feeder

    Q: We enjoy feeding the wild birds in our yard, and we have all sorts that frequent our feeders, but we now have a flock of pigeons that come twice a day. At first, there were only two, but it seems each day there are twice as many as the day before. They do not sit on the bird feeders but are on the ground under the feeders eating the food that the ground-feeding birds like song sparrows could be feeding on. In between feeding, they are on our roof making a mess. Is there any particular food that we could feed the other birds that the pigeons would not like?

Miami Herald

Join the
Discussion

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category