tpvets_logo.jpg (2726 bytes)TOA PAYOH VETS

Date:   14 November, 2009
Focus: Small animals - dogs, cats, guinea pigs, hamsters & rabbits

*10 a.m - 5 p.m (Mon - Sun, except Sat). Dr Sing Kong Yuen. By Appointment Only.

*6 p.m - 10 p.m (Mon - Fri). 10am - 5pm (Sat). House-calls available. Appointment preferred.
Tel: 6254-3326, 9668-6469
11 p.m to 6 a.m
9668-6469, 6254-3326
Fax: +65 6256 0501
Be Kind To Pets
Expatriate rentals in Singapore
Toilet training your puppy in Singapore  Dr Sing's research book to be published

Toa Payoh Vets Clinical Research
Making veterinary surgery alive
to a veterinary student studying in Australia
using real case studies and pictures

Teeth Problems in the Singapore Dogs & Cats
Case updated: 14 November, 2009
Dr Sing Kong Yuen, BVMS (Glasgow), MRCVS

Case Report in 2009. Dental Problems in the older cat in Singapore

Many Singapore Cat Owners are not aware that their older cats have severe periodontal diseases as the cat is quite an independent creature, grooming himself or herself. At around 3 years of age, gingivitis (gum infection) develops. A dental scaling and yearly check up will have prevented loss of teeth at around 5-10 years of age. 
0520602Singapore old cat tooth decay, gingivitis, periodontitis, pet health and welfare educational for animal lovers, excerpts from Be Kind To Pets, sponsored by AsiaHomes Internet. Written in Jun 30, 2002.
Case Report in 2002.  The cat with the loose tongue
"This stray cat's tongue has been hanging out the front of mouth for the past few weeks. What's wrong with him, doc?" asked Ms Chow who was concerned as she fed it regularly downstairs after her office work at the government ministry in charge of  problem teenagers who "stray" after schools, the latch-key kids of Singapore.  These kids have no purpose in life and mix with bad company, Ms Chow had told me. Staring at each other could provoke a fight between the teen gangs.

It is an unusual habit for any normal cat.  Cats like to keep very clean and don't hang out tongues.  Was its tongue paralysed after another cat battle in the hawker centre to establish its territory?  This was a six-year-old male cat and would have been wise to the battles for ground and female cats.

Singapore 6 year old stray cat: 2 decayed molars extracted
A half-inch pink tip would be seen hanging from his lips.  He had no appetite and objected strongly when I inserted the thermometer into his rectum to check whether he had a fever. He just swiped his claws into my right hand in less than a blink of the eye.   I got a 10-cm scratch for not being lightning fast enough.

"It may be having mouth ulcers or a severe tooth ache on one side" I said.   The tip of the tongue hung more to the right side, as if there was acute pain on the left side.  The cat's mouth dripped saliva in thick serous streaks and there was a strong rotting smell of bad breadth.  

"You don't expect the cat to answer your question, doc?" asked Ms Chow.

The cat clawed me again when I tried to open his mouth with my thumb and forefinger of the right hand.  No nonsense from any veterinarian, his brown eyes with pupils dilated widely, looked straight at me.

"Don't grip his front feet tightly as cats don't like it and get angrier!" I advised Ms Chow who was firmly restraining the cat.  I didn't want Ms Chow to get her face scratched as that might affect her marriage prospects. Beauty may be skin deep but a scratched face for a young woman will disadvantage her in her marriage prospects.
"I have no choice but to tranquilise him with one injection into his back muscle." I told Ms Chow. The cat did not attack her as she distracted him with a few words.  

The cat felt drowsy in 10 minutes.  I put him on a gas general anaesthesia to check for more decayed teeth.  Two loose and decayed upper left molar teeth were extracted easily within 2 seconds.

The redness around the molars indicated that the gums were infected with germs which undermine the integrity of the tissue and causing gingivitis (infected gums). 

Normal molar teeth of six-year-old cats have three deep roots which anchor them into the gum tissues firmly and cannot be extracted so easily.  The roots were decayed as you could see them on the lower left of the picture.  The lower molars of the left gums were enveloped with a thick crust of tartar but were still strongly anchored into the lower jaw.  The tartar was removed and all the teeth were given an ultrasonic dental scaling.

There were no mouth ulcers or gum tumours. The tongue no long hung out.  I don't expect to see this stray cat again as he will not get any annual veterinary check up or booster vaccination, being a street cat with the freedom to roam the void decks of the Housing and Development Board precincts and the street smartness to avoid being trapped by the government cat catchers.    

Teeth problems in the domestic cat are due to genetics and the diet, amongst other factors. 

In the wild, cats e.g tigers or leopards feed on real meat which cleans their teeth as they chew.

Some domestic cats fed soft food can suffer from severe gum and teeth problems caused by various factors including inherited weaknesses.

Cats, usually over 6 years old, suffer from 2 major degenerative oral problems: periodontal diseases (gum diseases) and resorption cavities.  

In gum diseases, the necrotic mouth ulcers and bad breadth are due to bacterial infection of the mouth. If the bacteria reaches the back of the throat, the cat may lose its meowing voice and has a bad breadth. Antibiotics and teeth scaling may stop the bad smell of purulent stomatitis (mouth inflammation) but there is a need to extract the decayed back teeth.  Cats need to have their diet modified if they don't have back teeth but they manage well.

In cervical resorption, there are cavities (holes) on the surfaces of the back teeth, close to the gum margins. They are not decay cavities but are caused by an auto-immune response.  The cat's body's defences destroy the teeth. The cat may lose appetite as it is very painful. Teeth extraction is the best treatment.     

A Colour Atlas of Veterinary Dentistry and Oral Surgery" by Peter Kertesz.  Peter is a dental surgeon for people and is a dental consultant for animal organisations and international zoos including London and Whipsnade zoos for the past 20 years.  He lectures all over the world on veterinary dentistry. When it comes to treating animals, Peter has strong ethics.  He never performs surgery to please the owner and only treats pets that have been referred to him by a vet. 

20 loose teeth causing severe mouth pain and infection extracted. Miniature Bull Terrier. Toa Payoh VetsPeriodontal Disease
Be Kind To Pets

You don't need to live with bad breath in your dog or cat
Get a yearly dental check up for your best friend
and don't let him or her
suffer oral pain daily

tpvets_logo.jpg (2726 bytes)Toa Payoh Vets Clinical Research
Making veterinary surgery alive to a veterinary student studying in Australia using real case studies and pictures

Copyright Asiahomes Internet
All rights reserved. Revised: November 14, 2009
Toa Payoh Vets