There is a myth that cats do not need veterinary care because they take care of themselves. This is absolutely false. Cats like dogs need to be seen at least annually by a doctor to ensure they are in good health and free of any medical issues. Part of any cat’s good health is maintaining healthy teeth and gums. Unfortunately, cats are extremely susceptible to dental disease known as tooth resorption, which close to 75% of cats 5 years and up will be affected.
Tooth resorption is a destructive and painful dental disease in cats. A group of cells called odontoclasts attack the tooth and its root(s). The cause of this attack is unknown at this time. Initially, the cat with this disease will not show any symptoms. However, as the disease progresses cats may become irritable, eat poorly, drool or chatter their teeth, especially when the gum is touched.
As your cat ages, the likelihood he or she will develop this disease increases. Once a cat has been diagnosed with this disease he or she will be more likely to develop future damage to other teeth.
Since the cause is unknown, prevention is not possible. Early detection and treatment are key to relieving needless suffering. The disease is difficult to identify so a thorough oral exam under anesthesia with full-mouth x-rays is often warranted. If your cat is diagnosed with this disease the only effective treatment is to remove the affected teeth.