The question really comes from a Reddit.com post in which the owner of an old cat asks whether her cat will feel better after he has had the hard calculus (tartar) removed from around his teeth by her veterinarian. She almost answers the question herself.
Her cat was sedated rather than anaesthetised generally which I think is great because a general anaesthetic is somewhat dangerous for a domestic cat.
And this lady says that, “I noticed a change in his breath already, and last night I have never seen a cat more excited to eat. He was running back and forth between his bowl and brother’s bowl to eat the wet food, purring the whole time, and he was just super excited and rambunctious. Could this be him feeling better from the teeth cleaning or from being sedated?
It looks pretty clear to me as if he feels a lot better when eating, which strongly implies that he had a sore mouth before the teeth cleaning procedure at the vet.
He was probably finding it a little bit uncomfortable to eat and now he is not because his mouth is no longer sore.
This must have meant that he had sore gums because of gum disease sometimes called gingivitis but it can be a mild form of gum disease which can still cause soreness. The tartar buildup at the junction between the teeth enamel and the gum membrane causes the gums to become raw and inflamed. Remove this compacted food and bacterial debris and you remove the inflammation in the gums and the cat feels better.
And also, as mentioned by this lady, her cat’s breath smells a lot better. It is a good sign of poor oral health if a cat’s breath smells bad. And you can pick that up when they yawn if you are nearby.
Cats don’t always make it clear to their owner that their mouth is sore. It’s a good idea really I think to keep an eye on the mouth but it’s hard to see! One trick is to use a cotton bud and gently push it down the side of the mouth at the upper back gum line which is where gum disease is most likely to be. If it is inflamed there, blood might be deposited on the cotton bud which will confirm unequivocally that there is gum disease and urgent treatment is required.
The problem with this test is that the cat might not accept it. And almost certainly won’t. Another difficulty to keeping an eye on a cat’s oral health which is why it is such a big health problem among the general cat population.I think poor oral health including gingivitis is in the top 10 cat health problems. Stomatitis describes chronically bad oral health.
I don’t think that the happiness felt by this cat is due to the effects of the sedation. It might be because I’m not a veterinarian. But it’s far more likely that he’s just enjoying his food more for the first time in perhaps a long time.
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