In a recent survey of the health status of over 15,000 cats examined at veterinary practices in the United States, the most commonly reported disorders were dental tartar (24% of cats) and gingivitis (13% of cats). Many common oral diseases, such as feline odontoclastic resorptive lesions ("cavities"), are painful and impair quality of life. Chronic oral pain can cause behavior changes such as irritability, lethargy, depression or aggression. Many common oral diseases, such as feline odontoclastic resorptive lesions (FORLs), are painful and impair quality of life. A reluctance to eat due to oral pain can lead to poor body condition, especially in geriatric cats. Chronic oral pain can cause behavior changes such as irritability, lethargy, depression or aggression. Since periodontal disease develops gradually, the cat has time to adapt to the pain, and the owner may misinterpret any changes as simply due to “old age.” Since periodontal disease is often preventable, all cats should receive an oral exam as part of annual wellness care.
(originally appeared in Cats USA; author permission required for reprint
I know: The idea of getting a toothbrush into your cat's mouth several times a week is off-putting. And you have to wonder, is toothbrushing, at-home dental care, and professional cleaning really worth the time and effort?
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