In the West (USA, UK, Europe etc.) the cost of cat teeth cleaning by a veterinarian is high and there are dangers involved which is why in a perfect world it is better if a cat’s teeth are regularly cleaned by the owner but this is far from easy.
I don’t believe a veterinarian can or will clean the teeth of a customer’s cat without anesthetising the cat first because a professional person has to do more than just brush teeth or clean them with a machine. He/she has to check the teeth for damage, wear and tear etc. and check for gum disease. A vet can only do this to a good standard if the cat is anesthetised.
As soon as you have to put a cat under a general anaesthetic the cost climbs substantially. In London, UK, a vet will charge around £400 to clean a cat’s teeth but the service includes tooth extraction where necessary and it is often necessary. Cat oral health can be poor especially in middle-aged to older cats (drooling is one sign). This is partly because of the sticky wet food eaten and dry cat food, despite claims to the contrary, is not particularly good for mouth health either.
As for the USA I’d expect the cost to be around the dollar equivalent to British pounds, namely $400. But I could be wrong in that supposition. A quick check indicates anywhere between $250-$1000.
I can see a vet quoting varying amounts dependent on the state of health of the cat’s teeth and gums.
General anaesthetics carry health risks in cats. A cat can suffer brain damage or be killed. My research indicates a 1 in 400 chance of serious injury from a general anaesthetic. Vets will probably say the risk is near 1 in several thousand.
In conclusion, cat owners should seriously consider veterinary cat teeth cleaning before instructing their vet to proceed. I have personally failed miserably when trying to clean my cat’s teeth. Most cats will vehemently resist a toothbrush being put into their mouth even if the toothpaste tastes of tuna.
The trick is to brush the teeth of a young kitten, doing it extremely gently at first perhaps using your finger and building up to the real thing. Once a kitten is habituated to having his teeth cleaned it should be easy to do an adult cat.
I think training/conditioning a cat to accept having his teeth cleaned should be part of the service for cat breeders. All bred cats should accept it. The downside is the vets would hate this because poor oral health in cats is one of the top ten feline illnesses. Cat teeth cleaning is a bread and butter money spinner for the vets.
Photo: Cuyahoga Falls Veterinary Clinic
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