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Senior cat care

Nudnic's Mom
September 10th, 2005, 07:36 PM
Hi I'm a first timer here. I have a 16-17? year old female cat the vet says her teeth are very bad, blood tests show she has an infection.She has been on antibotics for 1 week,with no change. He recomend having the teeth cleaned. My concern is that she would not survive. She is showing her age very much with the back end giving out. Could all of these problems be related to the infection ? Thanks Melissa

September 11th, 2005, 02:39 AM
Would teeth cleaning correct the problem of your cat having " very bad teeth" or is it more than just accumulations on the teeth? i.e. are there decayed teeth?
What is the anesthesia your vet intends to use?
In a study published in the Journal of the American Animal Hospital
Association by Dyson, in the July/August 1998 issue veterinarians kept track of anesthetic procedures for six months and the
medications used. The risk of death from anesthesia was reported to
be 0.1 percent (1 in 1000). When diazepam was used and when cats were intubated there was an increased risk. Cats can be intubated for a teeth cleaning procedure. The most commonly reported side-effect of diazepam was liver failure(cats).
Kataminecan cause seizures in cats and can cause an increase in blood pressure. These are more common when ketamine is used alone rather than when it is used in combination with a sedative such as diazepam (Valium Rx) or xylazine (Rompun Rx)
Xylazine will sometimes cause seizures, too, but usually in situations in which it is overdosed. Sometimes small amounts of xylazine is used in combination with ketamine. Some use xylazine and ketamine anesthesia in cats and have not had problems but some anesthesiologists say xylazine is dangerous because it can cause fluctuations in blood pressure from high to low and back again. Also this anesthetic may cause hypotension which could lead to cardiac arythmias
Sometimes anesthetics can trigger latent problems such as heart , kidney, or liver disease.
All applications of anesthetics have a risk-factor. It would be a matter of knowing what the risks were and weighing them against what would happen if you didn't do anything, finding out if there are alternatives that could duplicate what the vet intends to do. If it's just a teeth cleaning is there something that would work almost as well such as giving foods that could clean the teeth and stimulate the gums.

Lucky Rescue
September 11th, 2005, 11:39 AM
I would have the teeth cleaning done. Your vet will use anesthetic that is very safe for older animals, and if she has no other health problems (kidney failure, etc) she should be fine.

It's more dangerous to leave the teeth untreated than to have them done.

I had this done on my 19 year old cat and he was fine!!:)

September 11th, 2005, 12:14 PM
Hi and welcome to the forum.

When you say "blood tests show she has an infection," I am assuming/hoping that you mean her white blood cell counts are elevated, and not that she has infection IN her blood, which is a very dangerous risk of advanced dental disease.

When plaque and tartar accumulate on teeth because they are not getting cleaned, it irritates the gums and provides an open door to infection. It sounds like this is happening with your cat. The infection, untreated, can enter the bloodstream and travel to anywhere in the body from there.

The priority needs to be curing the infection. The right antibiotic will help with the infection, but if the underlying cause is still there (poor gum health), then it will be more difficult to do so.

No one can tell you if your cat will tolerate anesthesia or not, but your concerns are not unfounded. As justncase suggested, there are other ways of improving dental health, but none will give the immediate type of results as professional cleaning.

The back end giving out sounds like an unrelated problem but the kitty could be weak from the infection, contributing to a problem such as arthritis.

September 11th, 2005, 12:56 PM
When my cat (Samson) was 19 years old my vet also warned me about putting an old cat under. Samson did not have any decay just a buildup of plaque. The technician showed me how to remove the plaque around her back teeth by using the tip of your finger nails. It comes right off (at least it did for my cat). But my cat did not have an infection, however his gums were red. He did not mind my finger in his mouth and I made sure not to get too close to the gums. I also made sure my finger was very clean. Now having said all this, this worked for my cat and when I took him back to get a cleaning it went alot faster and the vet noticed that the redness was not as pronounced. The vet used the mildest stuff ( can't remember the name) and Samson came to without a problem. Again it helped my cat. Please ask your vet if that would help or further risk more infection or injury to your baby.