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Meet Saffron...

Tongue ulcer due to Calici Virus
Calici Virus Tongue ulceration
Cat Tooth Root

Saffron is a lovely spritely 13year old cat that we have had in the practice for dental treatment yesterday. Saffron has had problems with her mouth which has required her to have all her molars and premolar teeth extracted.

(Saffron, happily tucked up in her bed after her dental)

This procedure is occasionally required when a cat develops an inflammatory problem called Stomatitis or Faucitis. Stomatitis is a general term that refers to inflammation of the oral cavity.  Faucitis is a term that has been used to describe inflammation of the tissues behind the teeth in the back of the oral cavity. Both can be due to several different causes, but viral infections such as “Calici Virus” can be involved.

 This viral disease results in the cats own body over-reacting and fighting itself and causing inflammation and ulceration of the mouth and throat area (see the photo of Saffrons tongue, with an ulcer, a couple of weeks ago and a more extreme form of ulceration in another cats mouth due to calici Virus) and sometimes even pneumonia and even lameness in young kittens. This can flare up from time to time if the cat becomes a carrier of the virus and sometimes requires just simple treatment during these flare ups. However, sometimes the consequences of the virus are more severe and further, more invasive treatments, are required. This may mean removal of all the teeth and very importantly, removal of the roots of the teeth as well. If this is not successful, then we also sometimes need to use anti-viral medications. We can vaccinate our cats against Calici virus and this usually gives protection for most cats against developing severe clinical signs. Please do take a look at our section on "Vaccinating your Cat" or give us a call at the surgery on 01254 53622 if you require any advice on this or any other subject.

Dental Extractions

It is estimated that 50 to 80% of animals that are taken into a veterinary practice for any reason, have concurrent dental issues. As such “dental treatment” is a common procedure performed here at Daisy Street. Cat dentistry can be especially difficult and is a skill full, time consuming procedure. Cats teeth are designed to catch and hold prey…not to be removed. As such this can result in the tooth “snapping” whilst being removed. This does not always cause concern, especially in some forms of dental disease such as “Neck Lesions”, but in cases such as Saffron’s, it is very important that we remove all the roots, or the inflammation may not resolve.

Thus due to the difficulty to remove cats teeth, especially when the actual tooth is healthy as in Saffron’s case, we have to resort to surgery where we remove the surrounding bone and gently lift the tooth out. Sutures are then placed to close the wound.

As you can see from the photo, the teeth are designed so as not to be easily pulled out. The bottom part of the tooth that is deep in the jaw bone is wider than higher up the tooth. Also the amount of tooth you see – the “crown”, is only a very small section of the whole tooth (a little like the iceberg phenomenon). Along with the fact that many of the cats teeth have two or even three roots, all pointing in different direction again to oppose removal…you can quickly see why it almost impossible for the tooth and root to come out unless the tooth is diseased or broken.

In Saffron’s case, she recovered very well and was eating again after a couple of hours. We will have to see if this treatment is sufficient to cure her Faucitis but we are all wishing her a speedy recovery here at Daisy Street Vets. 

Samantha Purcell, Daisy Street Vets Blackburn.

16th April 2015, 9:30
Page updated 23rd Jan 2017, 12:24
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