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Cat Dental Work
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Cat Dental Work

Greetings.  Recently, I took my cats for their annual check up.  The vet told me that one of my cats needs dental work (one tooth may actually need to be pulled b/c of some gum irritation).  While I understand that dental work on cats is beneficial for their long term health, this is going to be a VERY costly procedure.  Not to mention that my kitty doesn't even seem to be in any pain.  I hate to have to put him through the process of getting his blood work done, then having him be sedated for the procedure.  What if he is in more pain afterwards than he is now (If he IS in pain now)?  My question(s):  Is this something that should be overlooked or should I get a second opinion?  I'm a very caring and loving pet owner, and I never want my cats to endure any pain or suffering for any length of time.  At the same time, I often wonder if there are certain things, like costly dental work, that can be set aside for the time being.  Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Monifa in NYC
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Just as some people are born with poor teeth so can cats.  Have you been brushing your cats teeth daily?  It only  takes tartar 24 hours to become permanent plaque.  Cats hide pain quite easily, so I don't know if you can really tell if your cat has painful teeth or not.  I think periodic blood work is always a good idea and is especially important before a procedure that requires anesthesia.  But, I also don't think it is a bad idea to get a second opinion, especially if the vet who is giving the second opinion can do digital skull and teeth X-Rays to check for tooth root problems, missing or resorbed roots or cavities.  Of course, the cost of X-Rays and second opinion may be prohibitive.   Any pain that you cat may experience after the procedure is short lived and your vet will probably send home some pain medication such as Metacam, if there were any extractions.  Remember, periodontal disease can affect and infect the heart, kidneys and other organs.
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Aleda M Cheng, D.V.M., C.V.ABlank
American Animal Hospital
Randolph, NJ
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