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Kitty with gingivitis - teeth cleaning?

MissPurryJess
October 5th, 2009, 09:37 PM
I did a search but didn't find exactly what I was looking for, but if I missed something please just forward me to a relevant thread. :o

I have two 7 year old kitties, brother and sister from the same litter. They just had their yearly check-up, and the little girl, Daisy Mae, has some gingivitis. The vet recommended a teeth cleaning. He had actually recommended this at their last vet visit in October of 2008, but uh, something drastic happened in the family and it just didn't happen.

Anyway, I'm really scared to get her teeth cleaned. I'm so scared to have her put under! :sad: I keep imagining her all freaked out without me in the vet's office before/after the cleaning. And anesthesia scares me, too. I know I don't like it (well, most of it) - I can't imagine she'd appreciate it very much. I trust my vet, and I was given a tour of the entire vet's office, so I know it's clean, sanitary, and has all of the modern surgical equipment. But I'm still scared.

My vet uses sevoflurane gas anesthesia for the surgeries, and the cats are put on a ventilator during the procedure. Are any of you familiar with this protocol? He said he prefers this anesthesia because it leaves the animal's body quickly. He also uses an EKG, pulse oximetry, and capnography monitors during the procedure.

I've looked into kitty teeth health products, but most of them seem to be maintenance treatments and don't appear to reverse gingivitis or remove plaque. Unfortunately Daisy isn't really into the tooth brushing thing - although I haven't tried the 4 week tutorial on the Cornell website, so I think I was going about it all wrong. But I don't know if that's going to remedy the problem altogether.

What's your experience with teeth cleaning? Is it safe? Effective? How does the kitty act afterward? Daisy holds a grudge. I'm worried she'd go on hunger strike or something to prove a point afterward.

So if anyone here has any advice, suggestions, warnings for me, all input is appreciated.

And I do realize I'm nuts and that my cats aren't capable of reason or logic or human emotion. My husband tells me this now and then. :crazy:

ETA: I keep reading conflicting articles - I'm losing my mind. inhalant anesthesia is not recommended (http://docs.google.com/gview?a=v&q=cache%3AqibD6F2dxIIJ%3Asecure.aahanet.org%2Feweb %2Fimages%2FAAHAnet%2Fphoenix2009proceedings%2Fpdf s%2F01_scientific%2F002_AVOID%2520_CAT_ASTROPHE_%2 520AN.pdf+sevoflurane+safe+for+cats%3F&hl=en&gl=us&sig=AFQjCNHNdMnDiO5Z2EYxVkqmm0Q5lrIioA)

inhalant anesthesia is recommended (http://www.vin.com/proceedings/Proceedings.plx?CID=WALTHAMTNAVC2003&PID=3672)

sugarcatmom
October 5th, 2009, 09:52 PM
Your vet sounds really on top of it as far as dental procedures for felines go. I know dentals can be scary, but the benefits outweigh the risks in most cases. As long as the appropriate pre-op lab work doesn't show any reason not to do the dental, it would be a good idea to have it done so that the gingivitis doesn't progress to something worse. My cat had a dental (with 3 teeth removed) at the age of 15, and on top of that, he's diabetic AND has cardiomyopathy. Was I worried? Absolutely! But my vet is fantastic and Aztec pulled through no problem. In his case, it would have been kinder to euthanize him than allow him to continue suffering with bad teeth.

Talk to your vet about your concerns regarding Daisy. There are meds she can be given, if necessary, to help with any appetite issues, should they arise. Aztec is also prone to holding a grudge, but I can't let that be the deciding factor when it's a matter of health.

MissPurryJess
October 5th, 2009, 10:11 PM
Your vet sounds really on top of it as far as dental procedures for felines go. I know dentals can be scary, but the benefits outweigh the risks in most cases. As long as the appropriate pre-op lab work doesn't show any reason not to do the dental, it would be a good idea to have it done so that the gingivitis doesn't progress to something worse.

What kind of pre-operative lab tests are common? My babies have never had a blood test (at least that I can recall), and I'm embarrassed to admit they're not the most cooperative of kitties at the vet. :o My vet didn't specify what tests he'd run beforehand; I know I can ask him and he'll answer all of my questions, but I'm curious what kind of tests they ran on Aztec.

He also mentioned giving her something before the inhaled anesthesia - I'm assuming to calm her down? I know it's not acepromazine (I asked specifically because we're not a fan), but I'm wondering if it's diazepam or something. Are you familiar with diazepam for kitties? I mean, Ativan is a wonderful thing (for humans), but I have no familiarity with it in kitties.

I've only posted on this forum a few times, but I think you've always helped me, sugarcatmom! :cat: Thank you.

sugarcatmom
October 6th, 2009, 06:21 PM
ETA: I keep reading conflicting articles - I'm losing my mind. inhalant anesthesia is not recommended (http://docs.google.com/gview?a=v&q=cache%3AqibD6F2dxIIJ%3Asecure.aahanet.org%2Feweb %2Fimages%2FAAHAnet%2Fphoenix2009proceedings%2Fpdf s%2F01_scientific%2F002_AVOID%2520_CAT_ASTROPHE_%2 520AN.pdf+sevoflurane+safe+for+cats%3F&hl=en&gl=us&sig=AFQjCNHNdMnDiO5Z2EYxVkqmm0Q5lrIioA)

This first article is referring to the use of inhaled anesthetics for induction (to konk the animal out, before intubation), which is different than using it for maintanance during the actual procedure. Here is some info for you on the Stages of Anesthesia in Animals (http://www.peteducation.com/article.cfm?c=0&aid=979).

And more links that talk about the various anesthetic protocols (probably way more info than you'd ever want to read!):
http://www.walthamusa.com/articles/BEDNARSK.pdf
http://vasg.org/from_preop_to_recovery.htm
http://vasg.org/protocols.htm

And some details on dentals (some of the info is slanted towards special needs kitties, but it should be useful regardless):
http://www.gorbzilla.com/dental_primer.htm
http://www.abqcatclinic.com/abqcc/dental.htm
http://petdiabetes.wikia.com/wiki/Dental_procedure


What kind of pre-operative lab tests are common?

Depends on the individual. Aztec had a complete senior blood panel and urinalysis done due to his age, as well as an EKG (which revealed a heart murmur - postponing the dental until he had a couple of echocardiograms done). I think usually a CBC, and a check on kidney and liver function are the norm.

Are you familiar with diazepam for kitties?

I know that my vet does use it for surgical procedures (I think it's pretty common), and that it also acts as an appetite stimulant in cats, which might be a good thing in Daisy's case. There have been some rare cases of acute hepatic necrosis following oral administration, but apparently the affected cats didn't have any blood work done prior to use. There is also the occasional case where the cat gets more aggitated instead of calming down, but I'm not sure if that applies to injectable diazepam (might just be with the oral med). Yet another link for you: http://www.veterinarypartner.com/Content.plx?P=A&C=31&A=540&S=0


I've only posted on this forum a few times, but I think you've always helped me, sugarcatmom! :cat: Thank you.

My pleasure, I'm glad I could help!

MissPurryJess
January 15th, 2010, 05:44 PM
I'm bumping this thread because my kids finally got their teeth cleaned yesterday, after me procrastinating for 4 years. :headslap: I postponed it because I was so apprehensive about having them anesthetized, but the vet talked me through the process (on the phone for 45 minutes, which was appreciated) a few weeks ago and assured me that he felt it was safe and he'd never had a problem in 9 years. So I relented.

They had lung/heart/dental x-rays beforehand, as well as a full exam and blood panel. The vet used sevoflurane gas to keep them asleep during the procedure (sonic cleaning/scaling/polishing), and they were given torbutrol for pain management (they may have been given another type of painkiller during the procedure, but I don't remember offhand). When I picked them up last night, they were still a bit "out of it" but they were alert and as soon as we got home they were running around, purring, begging for food (which we had to wait to give them per the doctor's instructions). When we offered them wet food, they gulped it down. My husband gave them a 1/2 dose of torbutrol before bed and again this morning for pain management (as the vet recommended), but it was making them weird, so I haven't given it to them since. So overall I think they're doing well - you can tell they're kinda traumatized and pissed off at me, but they're eating, using the litterbox, purring, using their scratching post, etc.

BUT - they won't open their mouths or meow. :( They're usually really vocal, meowing and squeaking and "talking" to us. But yesterday and today - nothing. I asked the vet's assistant if maybe their throats were sore from the procedure (they put a tube down their throats), but she said "probably not" and that it may be from the medicine. The torbutrol makes them look stoned - they'll sit and stare off into the distance for an hour at a time, just kind of swaying back and forth. I stopped giving it to them - it made me really upset.

And here's the bombshell: we're moving tomorrow. This whole thing has been poorly timed (due to some unanticipated human health concerns), but tomorrow we're moving to our new place 15 minutes away. I'm so worried about them - how they'll adjust and if this is too much for them at once. I've planned to have my husband and his friend do all of the moving - I'll be upstairs in the bedroom with the kids the whole time, unpacking the bedroom and making sure they have a safe, comfortable place. I plan on keeping them in the bedroom for at least a day or two - the new place is 2 levels and they've never seen stairs before.

So I guess what I'm asking is do you think their "recovery" from the procedure sounds normal so far? And do you have any recommendations/suggestions for how to make the move easier for them? I wish I could just crawl into bed with them for a few days while they recover, but it just isn't possible, unfortunately. I feel like a bad mama.:(

TIA for any advice.

ETA: I forgot to mention that my little boy had an especially traumatizing time - apparently he was absolutely horrific at the vet, hissing and spitting at anyone who made eye contact with him and being impossible when they tried to move him or get him out of his crate. I think he piddled himself at some point, because his crate smelled horrible and I had to clean the whole thing out and wash his towel. So I know he's a bit traumatized.

sugarcatmom
January 15th, 2010, 08:21 PM
My husband gave them a 1/2 dose of torbutrol before bed and again this morning for pain management (as the vet recommended), but it was making them weird, so I haven't given it to them since.

Since they didn't have any extractions (right?), it's not likely that they need any painkillers anyway, so you're correct to stop giving it. They may have some gum tenderness, just like a person would after a cleaning, but that'll pass soon.

So overall I think they're doing well - you can tell they're kinda traumatized and pissed off at me, but they're eating, using the litterbox, purring, using their scratching post, etc.

Sounds like they're doing great! Being pissed off is entirely normal. That too, shall pass.

BUT - they won't open their mouths or meow.

I know it's alarming when talkative kitties are silent, but again, this isn't that unusual. It's quite likely a combo of the intubation and the various anesthetic/analgesic drugs. Same thing happened to my yappy kitties when they had a dentals, although one for sure was because he was hopped up on some pretty heavy-duty pain meds. He totally did the stare-at-the-wall thing for hours. But I preferred that to his attempts at jumping on the sofa!

The torbutrol makes them look stoned - they'll sit and stare off into the distance for an hour at a time, just kind of swaying back and forth. I stopped giving it to them - it made me really upset.

Some people pay big bucks to feel like that you know! You should have played them some reggae... :D

And here's the bombshell: we're moving tomorrow.
:eek: You got your work cut out for you! Oh well, might as well get all the crappy stuff over with in one big blast. You wouldn't happen to have some Feliway diffusers lying around, would you? They really helped my cat when I had to move (twice in 3 months) last summer. I had one going at the old place while I packed and then one at the new house in a room set up with all his "gear". Like you, I stayed with him while others did all the moving. He adapted remarkably quickly (after about a week or 2 of being extra needy), considering he'd lived the previous 15 years in the same house.


the new place is 2 levels and they've never seen stairs before.

Oh they're gonna love the STAIRS!! Nothing like racing up and down stairs at 2am.

So I guess what I'm asking is do you think their "recovery" from the procedure sounds normal so far?

Totally normal. Great even, because they're eating and running and behaving just like kitties should. Minus the meow (for now).

And do you have any recommendations/suggestions for how to make the move easier for them?

I think you've probably got it under control. Make sure they have lots of familiar things around them in the bedroom when they first get there. Scratching posts, chairs, unwashed bedding etc. My cat was obsessed with looking out the windows for the first while, almost like he was trying to get his bearings. He would also crawl under the covers at night, sandwiching himself between my husband and I. It was comforting for all of us.


I feel like a bad mama.:(

You're an awesome mama!!!! Don't ever think otherwise. :grouphug:

MissPurryJess
January 15th, 2010, 08:47 PM
sugarcatmom - Thank you!! :cat:

The kitties didn't have any extractions (thankfully). And with the torbutrol - I know how it feels to take hardcore narcotics (not enthusiastically, I may add), so I figured they were feeling something similar. I personally hate the feeling, but you're right, some people do pay a lot for that! :laughing: They don't seem to be in pain, and I haven't given them anything since early this morning, so I think we're done with the painkillers.

I don't have any Feliway - I've never used anything like that before. They seem happy with my dirty laundry :p so I'll bring some with me to put in the room right away. I figure I'll have their crates in there (they use them as their "safe place" sometimes), our bed, their scratching posts, water, food, and litterbox, and probably a space heater because Daisy is obsessed with space heaters. :crazy:

I can handle them being extra needy for a while - I'm feeling a bit needy myself! Thank you for the advice. :cat: