Naturally, the development of dental disease is a painful process. Signs are often vague, or non-existent, but can include:
- Picky eating
- Becoming withdrawn
- Food-shy behaviour
- Bad breath
- Weight loss
Some behavioural changes attributed to old age can actually be due to oral pain and can be hard to notice. In fact, some cats may exhibit no outward signs at all! As cats are often poor at indicating health problems, regular dental checks with your vet or nurse are the only way to make sure your cat is not being affected by dental pain.
It is important to note that not showing any signs does not mean your cat is not in pain. Cats try to hide pain, and can be very adept at this. As well as pain, oral infections are often present in advanced dental disease, and infections that start in the mouth can travel around the body, worsening organ conditions such as kidney, heart and liver disease. This means that dental disease identified in your cat should be treated quickly to ensure their comfort and lasting good general health.
Dental checks are a great way for your clinical team to check your pet’s mouth, but the entire mouth can be difficult to fully examine in a conscious examination. These checks allow us to estimate the level of treatment required, but a full examination of every tooth is undertaken if your pet progresses to dental treatment under general anaesthetic. This ensures nothing is missed.