While both cats and dogs suffer from periodontal disease, cats are also commonly affected by another very painful and destructive dental disease known as tooth resorption — previously referred to as Feline Odontoclastic Resorptive Lesions (FORLS). Tooth resorption is the result of cells called odontoclasts attacking the tooth or teeth and roots, leading to tooth and bone loss. Unfortunately, the cause of this disease is still unknown and thus, no way to prevent it. The only available treatment is tooth removal.
According to Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine, an estimated 20 to 60 percent of all cats and close to 75 percent of those five years of age and older suffer from this dental disease. As cats often hide their pain, most cat parents won’t know they are potentially suffering from tooth resorption. In the early stages of the disease, cats will appear to be fine but as it progresses cats may exhibit subtle signs of pain such as eating poorly, becoming irritable, behavioral changes, and drooling or chattering their teeth.
Studies have shown that cats diagnosed with tooth resorption have a greater chance of continuing to suffer from this disease in the future. As there is no current method of prevention, it is important to have a thorough dental checkup performed with every annual exam to catch this disease as early as possible.
Dr. Susan Bonilla is the owner of Passionate Paws Animal Hospital in Waxhaw, offering traditional and complementary treatment options such as acupuncture, chiropractic, and physical therapy. Full-service grooming is also available. You can reach her at 704-256-7576 or e-mail at Hello@PassionatePaws.Vet