Pets can rightfully be called family members, because we care about their health no less than about our own. Dental problems are not uncommon among four-legged Pets, and one of the most common is tooth loss.
If this phenomenon is physiological in nature and is associated with the change of baby teeth, then there is nothing to worry about, but what to do if the teeth fall out in an adult cat?
Physiological change of teeth
Kittens are born toothless. Their milk incisors are cut at the age of 1-2 weeks. A two-month-old baby should already have at least 26 teeth. but they begin to fall out at 3-4 months. The shift process also lasts 3-4 months, ending by 7 months.
Keep track of the baby’s health, count how many and which teeth have fallen out. An adult cat should have 30 of them: 6 incisors, 2 canines, 2 molars on the lower and upper jaws. Premolars 10: 6 on the lower and 4 on the upper jaws.
When changing baby teeth in a cat, you can observe symptoms such as:
- chewing on inedible items;
- reduced activity;
- irritability, excitability.
Often the process of changing teeth is complicated — instead of 4 canines grow 8. This is due to the fact that the formation of root canines occurs in individual follicles: the milk ones have not yet fallen out, but new ones are already actively growing. The kitten feels uncomfortable, can’t chew and therefore loses weight.
In such cases, you need to contact the clinic to have a specialist remove the loose tooth. The procedure is performed under anesthesia.
The change of the teeth going without complications, does not require medical intervention. The main thing is that the dishes in the baby’s diet contain the necessary amount of mineral salts, calcium and phosphorus.
Causes of tooth loss in adult cats
It is easy to distinguish baby teeth from permanent ones: the first ones are white, sharp as needles. They are slightly flat, and there is a slight thinning at the point where the tooth passes into the gum. The fangs are bent back. Root (permanent) have a yellowish tint, with a more rounded cross-section. The canines are straight, there is no thinning in the gum area.
If a cat is kept in good conditions, receives a balanced diet enriched with nutrients, vitamins and trace elements, and is not exposed to external traumatic factors, it may well preserve its teeth until old age.
However, if a pet has them fall out after it is 1 year old, that is, it is a loss of permanent teeth, this is an alarm signal, which means that there are serious pathologies occurring in the body.
It is important to understand that adult cats do not lose their teeth just like that. This is a problem not only for the oral cavity, but also for the entire body, since the mucous membrane of the mouth and gums have many blood vessels through which the infection spreads throughout the body.
By the age of three, the cat’s plaque turns into stone, so the oral cavity needs careful care — cleaning with special pastes. If you neglect hygiene procedures, you can’t avoid losing your teeth in the future.
Tooth loss in an adult animal can indicate the following problems in the body:
- injuries in the mouth;
- weakening of the immune system;
- violation of the natural microflora in the oral cavity, its colonization with pathogenic bacteria;
- vitamin deficiency;
- diabetes mellitus;
- metabolic disorders;
- changes in the hormonal background (pregnancy, taking hormonal medications, including contraceptives, antibiotic therapy, etc.);
- dental diseases (gingivitis, periodontal disease, caries, etc.);
- incorrect bite;
- pathologies of the gastrointestinal tract;
The idea that all cats lose their incisors in old age is a mistake. If the animal is healthy, the onset of old age is not an argument for dental health disorders. The exception is the age of 20 years and older, but a rare cat lives up to it.
The loss of the chewing apparatus of its structural units is associated with diseases, poor care and an unbalanced diet, but not with age.
Over the years, various changes in the condition and shape of the teeth still occur. It is proved that the approximate age of a cat can be determined by the number of erased teeth — the more of them, the older the animal.
The first incisors on the lower jaw begin to wear off (to the edges from the center), their shape becomes transversely oval. Then comes the turn of the molars and premolars. Fangs are the last to lose enamel.
What breeds are susceptible to
From of tooth loss is not insured by any one animal at risk — the representatives of the short faced breeds (British, Scots, Persians). This is due to the anatomical features of the structure of the jaws.
The main symptoms
The clinical picture of tooth loss varies depending on the cause that caused this phenomenon. If the structural unit of the chewing apparatus has fallen out due to injury, it is enough to treat the wound with a disinfectant solution, and if it does not get an infection, the damaged area heals safely.
The reason for contacting a veterinary clinic are the following symptoms:
- gums swell, turn red, and bleed;
- saliva is released profusely, which is why the cat’s muzzle and neck are constantly wet;
- pustules form in the oral cavity;
- pus in the saliva;
- from the mouth comes a bad smell of rot;
- the existence of difficulties with chewing;
- lack of appetite.
As a rule, the cat’s behavior changes, it becomes restless, apathetic, and loses weight. The animal refuses to eat, even if it is very hungry. If the cat tries to eat, it does it very carefully and slowly, as chewing makes it uncomfortable. As a rule, he also refuses water.
The owner should observe the condition of the animal, it is advisable to record the changes in order to tell the veterinarian about them. This will greatly facilitate diagnosis and determine treatment.
Diagnostics in the veterinary clinic
Tooth loss in adulthood is not an independent disease, but a sign of a serious pathology developing in the body (with the exception of the injury).
Diagnostics is aimed at identifying the provoking factor and includes anamnesis (collecting information about the content, nutrition of the animal, General condition), visual examination in General and the oral cavity in particular, conducting diagnostic studies.
Treatment method and prognosis
There is no single treatment regimen. Therapy is made individually in each case and depends on the age of the cat, its state of health and the cause of tooth loss. A lost tooth cannot be restored, and the veterinarian’s task is to prevent subsequent losses.
To solve the problem, the specialist makes adjustments to the cat’s diet, prescribes medications to strengthen the teeth and immune system.
Regarding vitamin therapy, we can say that there is no need to give vitamin with shock doses. In cats, ascorbic acid is synthesized in sufficient quantities, so they do not have scurvy.
If the animal has Tartar, it is removed at the clinic. The procedure is performed under anesthesia, for which premedication is used — the introduction of anticholinergic drugs to block the vagal reflexes. These drugs cause the least harm to the animal’s body. During the operation, the cat will be conscious, but will not be able to resist.
After recovering from anesthesia, the pet will need high-quality care, as the procedure is stressful for him.
In parallel, treatment is carried out to strengthen the gums and reduce their bleeding. But the main focus is on eliminating the underlying disease that caused tooth loss.
Cat tooth loss is a serious process, so you can’t ignore it. If you do not attach importance to this and do not treat this condition, dangerous pathologies will develop in the pet’s body. So, if tooth loss is associated with oral infections, pathogenic organisms enter the internal organs through the blood, which is fraught with the development of dangerous diseases.
What to do at home
The owner is required to strictly follow the instructions of the veterinarian. Self-medication is dangerous for the cat’s health and can cause irreparable harm to it. Medications, their dosage is set by a specialist.
To enable the animal to lead a normal lifestyle, it is necessary to change the consistency of the food, as dry pellets can further injure the oral cavity.
The oral cavity is regularly examined and treated with a disinfectant solution of Chlorhexidine. These procedures prevent infection of the enamel and damage to other teeth.
If you pay attention to the health of the cat, provide high-quality care for it, then such a problem as tooth loss can be avoided. Regular brushing of teeth is the prevention of Tartar, which, most often, is a provoking factor. Cats living on the street, clean the mouth on their own, chewing twigs, grass.
Pets are not allowed to do this, so the owner must regularly perform hygiene procedures — brushing their teeth. If you teach them to a cat from an early age, it will not resist in the process, perceiving manipulation as a natural process.
To clean your teeth, special pastes are used, which can be purchased at a veterinary pharmacy. These pastes do not need to be washed off with water.
Human pastes can not be used, as the high concentration of certain components in the composition will negatively affect the health of the pet. In addition, the smell of menthol contained in most pastes irritates animals.
You can brush your teeth with a special brush, but you can also use a regular brush for small children with soft bristles. Prevention of Tartar is the use of toys, dry medical food, which should be given from time to time.
Special attention should be paid to feeding your pet. If natural food is preferred, the diet includes meat, fish, vegetables, and fermented dairy products. Eating “from your own table” is prohibited. If you use dry food, it is advisable to choose premium and super premium products that contain sufficient amounts of vitamins and minerals.
You must take your pet to a veterinary clinic so that diseases can be detected at the initial stage, vaccinated in a timely manner and treated against parasites. To avoid injuries to the jaws and head area, you should not leave a four-legged pet alone. Windows and vents must be closed in your absence!
Hi, my name is Mike Fletcher. I am 36 years old and I’m a veterinarian at a veterinary clinic in Granby Colorado. And this is my blog about Pets. I hope I can answer your questions here.