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Cats Are a Unique Species, with a Unique Dental Disease

Cats have an oral disease process that is very specific to their species, called feline odontoclastic resorptive lesions. That’s a mouthful! When visible to the naked eye, they appear as erosions on the surface of a tooth, often associated with gingivitis (red, inflamed gums) in the progressive stages. There are no specific causes that have been clearly identified, though recent research suggests that prolonged inflammation (from dental plaque and bacteria) and excessive amounts of vitamin D may play a part.

They are extremely painful and unfortunately extremely common, with over 30% of cats developing them in their lifetime. The premolars and molars are the most likely teeth to be affected, but they can also be found on the canines (‘fangs’) and incisors (the tiny teeth at the front of a cat’s mouth). These defects are often covered with calculus (tartar) and may not be noticed until the calculus is removed. The lesions may also be covered by hyperplastic gingiva (excessive gum growth due to inflammation) and filled with granulation tissue. Cats with these lesions are often, but not always, reluctant to eat hard food due to the pain involved. Others will swallow kibble whole without chewing or direct kibble to non-painful parts of the mouth. These lesions can so painful that even when the cat is under anesthesia, the cat’s jaw will twitch when the lesions are touched! Affected cats are typically middle-aged, but they have been seen in cats as young as 2 years of age. Purebred cats are the most susceptible, with the Persian and Siamese having the highest incidence.

The only treatment is complete extraction of the tooth and associated tissues, and often they are only identified by dental x-rays, as their development and origin begins underneath the gum-line.

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Last updated: December 17, 2020

Dear Clients,

With recent changes to restrictions on businesses, we are pleased to advise that effective May 19, 2020 some restrictions on veterinary practices have been lifted. Based on these changes, below are some important updates to our operating policies.

1. WE CAN NOW SEE ALL CASES BY APPOINTMENT ONLY

This includes vaccines, wellness exams, blood work, heartworm testing, spays and neuters, dental services, and more!

2. SAFETY MEASURES TO KEEP EVERYONE SAFE

3. OPERATING HOURS

We are OPEN with the following hours:

- Monday to Friday: 10:00 am - 6:00 pm
- Saturday: 8:00 am - 1:00 pm
- Sunday: CLOSED

4. NEW PET OWNERS

Have you welcomed a new furry family member to your home? We’d love to meet them! Visit our Must Know New Pet Owner Information page for useful resources and helpful recommendations for new pet owners.

Thank you for your patience and understanding and we look forward to seeing you and your furry family members again!

Your dedicated team at Westbridge Veterinary Hospital