Cats broken teeth and dribbling is the second in a series of articles specially researched and written for Siamese Cat Breeder relating to dental care and oral hygiene for cats by Sheila Calloway RVN.
Sheila is a qualified veterinary nurse and has over 30 years experience working with and keeping pets. Many of you will have seen Sheila at cat shows and she is usually found on the Siamese section with her cats.
If your cat has broken teeth then they may be in real pain and clever as they are they can’t speak English so it is up to us to understand there body language, behaviour and to spot things like changes in appetite and weight. A regular oral examination will also help us spot problem and if we find our cats have broken teeth we can then at least get them the help they need from our vets.
Poor diet, genetics, stress, and age all play a role in the development of feline dental problems. Some cats are genetically predisposed and may develop dental problems at a younger age and lack of a good oral hygiene regime for your cat will most certainly lead to problems.
In cats, the canine and incisor teeth are frequently fractured from trauma. For most cats in general, the canine teeth are most likely to fracture from facial trauma while fractures of the pre-molar and molar teeth from simply chewing objects is quite rare; our felines have more sense than try and bite on something that is clearly too hard!
It would be logical to think that cats will suffer pain from a fractured or broken tooth as we do.
The degree of pain is related to the extent and the duration of the fracture. If the inside of the tooth (pulp) is exposed from an initial injury such as a fall, there is immediate and excruciating pain. However, many owners fail to notice their cats have even fractured a tooth.
As the tooth becomes infected through the fracture site, it may die and become less-painful – however this is rare and you should still consult advice from your vet.
If the infection spreads to the jaw (alveolar) bone supporting the tooth, pain often returns or increases significantly. The bone and local soft tissues may then become infected and eventually form an abscess. The abscess can look like a swelling inside the mouth (intraoral) or outside the mouth (extraoral).
Most certainly a broken tooth will require a trip to the vets for your feline, extraction being the most effective and simplest treatment.
The sooner this transpires the better and reduces risk of complication of the injury such as pain, abscesses or weight loss because the suffering cat is unable to eat properly.
A dental or oral abscess in cat’s is a serious condition.
A cat abscess needs to be treated immediately by a vet, as such an infection can cause other serious health problems including infected bone (osteomyelitis) or infected blood (toxemia) diseases.
Abscesses are localized collections of pus that are formed by tissue disintegration resulting from an infection; the abscess is surrounded by an inflamed, swollen area.
A tooth abscess in cat’s is a relatively common occurrence, especially in those cats that have periodontal disease or who have suffered some kind of physical trauma to their mouths such as a broken tooth or mouth burn – some cats seem to like to play and chew electric wires…!
Dental abscesses can form under and around teeth and in the gums
Cats can’t communicate their discomfort in words, so it is up to us to look for symptoms of a tooth abscess:
If your cat exhibits any of these symptoms, see a veterinarian as soon as possible. An untreated abscess in cats can lead to a systemic bacterial infection, tooth loss, and bone loss in the jaw.
A vet will visually examine the cat’s mouth, but may also suggest x-rays to diagnose the extent and/or source of the infection.
If it’s a tooth, the vet may opt to treat the infection first with antibiotics and when the infection is under control extract the offending tooth.
Long-acting antibiotics injections tend to be the most effective treatment as trying to administer tablets to a cross feline with a sore mouth or lack of appetite can be unreliable, inconsistent or ineffective. Not recommended!
Removing fur from around an eternal abscess site will help reduce the risk of further or re-infection and assist with keeping the area clean.
Gently cleaning the wound site with a mild diluted antiseptic solution or Epsom salts diluted in warm water two or three times a day to ensure the site is kept clean and free from further infection.
A broken tooth due to trauma is unfortunately largely unavoidable
However a good oral health regime to help take care of your cat’s teeth and mouth will certainly reduce the risk:
Coming soon on Siamese Cat Breeder my next article is called ‘What a pong – bad breath and a smile without sparkle!‘
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Sheila Calloway RVN is a qualified veterinary nurse and has over 30 years experience either working with or keeping pets. She is especially passionate about showing and breeding her favorite felines – Siamese cats! Sheila breeds her cats under the prefix Siamazing Siamese.