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Old 02-01-2011, 07:46 AM
 
Location: Raleigh, NC
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Default Risk of a senior cat going in for dental work?

I'm hoping to hear from other pet owners with senior cats who have taken them in to the vet for dental work. Mine is 19 and had her last cleaning 2 1/2 years ago. The current vet says she needs some teeth extracted but can't say how many. The vet even suggested there is a small risk of her dying because of the anesthesia!! That wasn't very comforting!

My cat isn't obviously suffering. She seems to show problems related to thyroid disease for which she is taking medication. She does seem to favor wet food, but she still occasionally eats dry food, I think.

I worry that she is too old to go under anesthesia at her age. Am I worrying too much?
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Old 02-01-2011, 08:27 AM
 
Location: In a cat house! ;)
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Years ago, I had my dog's teeth cleaned when he was 16 years old... I'm prettttttty sure I will never do that again! I had NO IDEA there were so many risks. I was clueless about so much. I just ASSuMEd... and trusted the vet. Our dog passed away shortly after... due to complications. Again, this was several years ago, so maybe procedures and risks have improved.

At the moment, none of our pets are seniors. But if one was, and dental work was suggested...I would be Googling my brains out to educate myself as much as possible so that I could make an INFORMED decision without any "pushing" from the vet.
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Old 02-01-2011, 08:45 AM
 
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My stomach goes out from under me when I hear a senior animal may be going under anesthesia for teeth cleaning. As Lola says, please do your homework. Another member here suggested for one of my special felines to tell the vet to use a gas anesthesia called sevorfluane gas. (thank you, Catsmom21)

This is one reason why prevention is so important, by brushing a cat's teeth. I also understand that teeth brushing does not always prevent the situation you are in, for I just had one of my cats go under anesthesia to get two of her fangs extracted, due to fractures under her gum line.

If your cat needs teeth extracted, you don't want to take the chance of abscesses to form. Just be aware of all possibilities and I agree with Lola, be informed.
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Old 02-01-2011, 09:28 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lola4 View Post
I would be Googling my brains out to educate myself as much as possible so that I could make an INFORMED decision .
Seems that's the dilemna ... who (most people in general) wants to 'waste' all that time?

I remember OP posting in the "Talked Out of Wet Food" thread where several of us responded to your post regarding cats' teeth specifically.

Hope you at least heed Lola4 & Garden's advice here. They've been there AND have done their homework.
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Old 02-01-2011, 09:55 AM
 
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Beau was 14, and had some teeth pulled, he had blood work prior to the anathestic. It cost more, but it was okay. I could tell he had a problem, the canine tooth just looked bad. They always tell you "the pet may die" that is to cover themselves...and of course, it is prudent, any time a pet has anasthesia to be aware of the risk.

I would say, if the cat is okay, not in pain, at that age..why do it?
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Old 02-01-2011, 10:07 AM
Status: "Save a life; carry a gun." (set 16 days ago)
 
Location: Cody, WY
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Gas is very important. It's much safer. I had a cat who needed dental surgery at sixteen; it went fine. There is a risk; but the risk is even greater if you don't do it. These infections can be fatal. I'd be very nervous; bit I'd do it.
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Old 02-01-2011, 01:09 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zitsky View Post
I'm hoping to hear from other pet owners with senior cats who have taken them in to the vet for dental work. Mine is 19 and had her last cleaning 2 1/2 years ago. The current vet says she needs some teeth extracted but can't say how many. The vet even suggested there is a small risk of her dying because of the anesthesia!! That wasn't very comforting!

My cat isn't obviously suffering. She seems to show problems related to thyroid disease for which she is taking medication. She does seem to favor wet food, but she still occasionally eats dry food, I think.

I worry that she is too old to go under anesthesia at her age. Am I worrying too much?
Cats rarely 'obviously suffer.' Cats are the masters of hiding pain and illness. Do you trust your vet? Of course you're not worrying for nothing, it's a tough decision to make.

My experience:

My senior cat was 17. She had CRF, megacolon, heart murmur, arthritis, high blood pressure and hyperthyroid disease. She had also suffered one stroke. (She was on many medicines for megacolon, but she could not take the medicine for either the HBP or the hyper-T)

She also showed no symptoms of pain, but my vet said judging by her mouth, she was very uncomfortable. While there was a risk of the anesthesia accelerating the kidney disease, I felt that a shorter life, free of mouth pain, was more important than a longer life, suffering with mouth pain.

She got through the procedure just fine. She had two extractions, which the vet prescribed buprenex for pain.

And don't forget, bad teeth and gums affect the whole body. They can cause kidney disease and heart failure. So really, in my opinion, it is a nothing to lose situation.

Ask your vet to use sevoflurane gas anesthesia. It is fast acting and the safest thing out there. No pre anesthesia shots, NO KETAMINE and no metacam. Be sure to have blood work done first and that the vet keeps your kitty hooked up to IV fluids throughout the procedure. Fluids are very important. As are antibiotics to fight infection.

Good luck with your kitty. 19 years is a testament to your loving care.

Last edited by catsmom21; 02-01-2011 at 01:44 PM..
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Old 02-01-2011, 01:13 PM
 
4,221 posts, read 4,552,918 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jasper12 View Post
Beau was 14, and had some teeth pulled, he had blood work prior to the anathestic. It cost more, but it was okay. I could tell he had a problem, the canine tooth just looked bad. They always tell you "the pet may die" that is to cover themselves...and of course, it is prudent, any time a pet has anasthesia to be aware of the risk.

I would say, if the cat is okay, not in pain, at that age..why do it?
Because dental disease affects the whole body. It causes kidney infections, kidney failure and heart failure to name three.

Cats hide pain, if that cat needs extractions then she is in pain.
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Old 02-01-2011, 05:54 PM
 
Location: Raleigh, NC
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Thanks to everyone for their advice. I think I will go ahead but will use the advice that I've been given here (no metacam, etc.). I have done some research before, but it never hurts to get advice from other pet owners. I trust my vet. She has already mentioned using gas anesthesia. She was recommended by a friend. It's always good to be cautious, even if you trust your vet.
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Old 02-01-2011, 06:21 PM
 
Location: In a cat house! ;)
1,397 posts, read 2,248,216 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zitsky View Post
The current vet says she needs some teeth extracted but can't say how many.
While the vet is guessing at how many teeth need to be extracted, did he/she say why they need to be extracted? Have you considered a second opinion?

Just food for thought.
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