When does it make sense to get your cat's teeth cleaned?

  1. I'm asking this because my mom called me yesterday and said the vet wants her to get her Persian's teeth cleaned. He's 4.5 years old, neutered, and in excellent health. He does have a touch of periodontal disease, but she gives him a mouth rinse daily to control that and it's been working well.

    Personally I think the vet is taking advantage of my mom. They have convinced her that he needs to come in for a "checkup" every 6 months. I think this is excessive especially since he doesn't have any health issues.

    When she brought him in for yet another check up this week they said she should have his teeth cleaned. However, when they listened to his heart they said he has an intermittent heart murmur. So before they clean his teeth under general anesthesia, they told her he'll need to be cleared by a kitty cardiologist, and the cost for that alone will be around $400. That of course is even before you get to the cost of the actual teeth cleaning.

    I think all of this expense sounds like quite a bit. I'm wondering if anyone has opinions or if they've experienced this with their cat.
     
  2. That sounds ridiculous. If he just has a little bit of tartar I would not put him through a dental. Especially if he has a heart murmur. If he is in good health he should be seen once per year for a checkup/shots. I would tell your mom to get a good pet toothbrush and toothpaste and try to manage it that way. I definitely wouldn't get him a dental unless his gums were red and inflamed or his teeth had more than just a touch of tartar. My Diabetic boy had a broken tooth that was bleeding so I had to put him through a dental. 2 days later he developed Pancreatitis and died after 1 week in the hospital on fluids. Putting them under is dangerous and I only do it now if I absolutely have to.
     
  3. The only times I have had my cats' teeth cleaned, it's because they have infected teeth. If she is already giving an oral rinse, then as long as their is now sign of gum disease or infection then I wouldn't worry about it. As for the checkups twice a year, unless Persians are known for some rare disease then I can't even imagine why that is necessary.
     
  4. in all my years of having cats (including growing up) i don't believe we've ever had our cats' teeth cleaned and my mom worked at a vet clinic for nearly 20 years.

    the first time ever was when i had to take Sunday in to have a teeth pulled which was pretty obvious that it needed to be done because it was bloody, not something i could see on my own but was noticed during a yearly vet visit.
     
  5. Well it is true that a heart murmur should be further investigated for future anesthesia issues. JMO. I have a dog with one, so he was looked at by cardiologist and can and did undergo anesth. My other oldie cannot undergo it because of a different kind of heart problem.

    IMO it's always good to know before an emergency or necessity comes up, if you can afford it.

    Why don't you suggest your mom get a second opinion re the dirty teeth? As well as the murmur.

    I just had a 4 year old Siamese in for a dental Monday and they had to pull all of his teeth except his canines and front incisors. BAd me had not had him to the vet in several years because he seemed healthy.

    Maybe her cat's teeth do warrant (warrent?) some regular cleaning so he doesn't have to go through what my cat (and my wallet - 900$!) had to go through. I say get a recommendation, if possible, for another vet for a second opinion.

    P.S. - I think unless the pet is very old or has health issues, checkups more than once a year are unnecessary IMO
     
  6. Getting the heart murmur evaluated sounds like the top priority as it will affect tons of other aspects of kitty healthcare. Then after that maybe your mom could get a second opinion on the teeth. My old cat had to have most of his teeth removed at 14 and you'd want to try and avoid that. I think it was about $900 and he did smell much better after that. The cat vet we go to sees senior cats 2x per year but I don't think they'd bring a cat in more often unless they were managing some health issue.
     
  7. I've been advised to have my cats teeth cleaned but I've never one it. For one thing, they have to go under anesthsia. My one cat lived to 17 and I have one now who is about 14. I don't think it's necessary to put the cat through that and to spend the money.
     
  8. The vet always tells me to get my oldest cats teeth cleaned, we did it ONCE maybe when she was about the same age as your moms cat & now again they're saying she has tarter build up & we have to get them cleaned soon . The 6 month check up is just craziness especially if hes a healthy boy, personally I think the teeth cleanings aren't THAT necessary because really back then no one did all this extra stuff to their kitties & I'm sure they were fine . The only way I'd probably EVER do it again to her & to my little one (which they're saying he might need a cleaning w/i a yr or two) is if I knew they were in pain & their gums were inflamed . I'm not comfortable putting my babies under especially my older one since she just went into remission from diabetes a couple of months ago . You could also try getting another vets opinion if your mom thinks getting his teeth cleaned is necessary & to start brushing his teeth if she wants to help w/ the tarter build up
     
  9. I was constantly told that my cat Fifi needed to have her teeth cleaned but I never did do it and she lived almost 20 years with no dental issues. On the other hand my cat Rusty got a horrible gum infection from tartar build-up. He had FIV though and passed away at only 7 years of age. The gum infection was the beginning of the end for him, poor guy.

    As long as your Mom's cat isn't having acute issues with its teeth I wouldn't worry about it. If the cat will let her she should just inspect its gums for inflammation periodically, particularly around the back teeth.

    Check-ups every six months for a healthy cat sounds excessive to me. My kitties are lucky--and I use that term loosely!--to see the vet once a year, barring actually presenting symptoms of something.
     


  10. same here.....my one cat is a terror at the vet so we'll only take him if it's really necessary.....(last vet that saw him had written "biter" on this chart)
     
  11. Hmm the vet has told my mum that my cat needs her teeth cleaning, she is 15. Not sure how necessary it is as she seems healthy enough (apart from kidney troubles)

    She is rarely at the vet, probably only been 3 times for something other than boosters in her entire 15 years. She has never been a massive fan of the vet, tends to foam at the mouth and hiss.

    Took "The Twins" for their first booster yesterday and they were as good as gold, all deemed healthy at 1.5 years old :smile: Trying to avoid teeth trouble in their later years by giving them raw food to chew on although they will not take to chicken wings!
     
  12. My oldest cat has that written in her charts too :sad: lol, biter, scratcher & agressive . Which she isn't unless you're obviously poking & prodding her like the vet does lol
     
  13. Thanks everyone for your input! I have tried to convince my mom that the 6-month checkup situation is ridiculous, but unfortunately she's of "that generation" and never questions anyone in a position of authority (like a vet or a doctor). Personally I think it's an easy way for the vet to make more money from people who don't know any better.

    She has decided not to do anything until after Christmas, and since I'll be visiting her at that time, I'm going to look at his teeth myself and see what I think. Hopefully I can convince her that a cleaning is unnecessary unless he has serious issues.
     
  14. Thanks everyone for your input! I have tried to convince my mom that the 6-month checkup situation is ridiculous, but unfortunately she's of "that generation" and never questions anyone in a position of authority (like a vet or a doctor). Personally I think it's an easy way for the vet to make more money from people who don't know any better.

    She has decided not to do anything until after Christmas, and since I'll be visiting her at that time, I'm going to look at his teeth myself and see what I think. Hopefully I can convince her that a cleaning is unnecessary unless he has serious issues.
     
  15. I agree it's probably worth getting another opinion in your Mum's case, but I disagree with all those who say if there are no acute issues with the teeth not to worry. Such issues are not always apparent, and tooth trouble can cause problems with other organs, such as the heart and kidneys. Problems are not always apparent at first glance to a vet either - I took my little lady for a check up not long after I adopted her, and the vet said her teeth looked like they could use a clean but would probably be all right - as it turned out she had severe FORL and had to have many teeth removed. The vet said the teeth must have been very painful for her, yet she'd shown zero signs of discomfort, eating everything I put out for her. She had been a feral/stray and then long-term rescue before coming to me, so I guess she hadn't had much in the way of dental care.

    Research shows that the incidence of certain diseases is lower in people who have regular dental care. I know some vets are more interested in profit than anything else, but it's important to bear in mind that for most the foremost concern is animal welfare.