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My Cat Has Bad Breath

Q:

My cat has bad breath. Is there anything I can do about this?

A:

It is natural for a cat’s breath to reflect their diet to some extent. They do not rinse with a mouthwash every day, so some odor is to be expected. Very bad breath, called halitosis, is a problem that should be investigated by your veterinarian. Halitosis can be caused by a number of heath issues, most commonly gingivitis (inflammation of the gums) or more serious problems like kidney disease, liver disease or diabetes.

Gingivitis is caused by a build-up of odor-producing bacteria in your cat’s mouth. In addition to being generally unpleasant, it can cause mouth infections, tooth loss, and, in rare instances, life-threatening problems such as sepsis (bacteria colonization of blood) and endocarditis (infection in the inner layer of tissue surrounding the heart).

Indications that a veterinary check-up is in order, include severe halitosis, pawing at the mouth, suddenly jumping back from food after initially starting to eat, drooling, and markedly red gums.

Being proactive with your cat’s dental care can actually prolong her life. Regular check ups to check for underlying medical problems are necessary once a year for adult cats and twice a year for senior cats over 10 years old. Many cats tolerate daily brushing using a toothbrush and toothpaste especially formulated for cats.

At some time in your cat’s life, your veterinarian may determine that your cat needs to have her teeth professionally cleaned. This is a procedure that is done under general anesthesia where the teeth are scaled and polished. Any rotten teeth are removed – don’t worry, your cat will get along just fine without them! Many cats with no teeth at all eat exclusively dry food diets. Generally, your cat will spend one day in the hospital for her dental procedure. If she has to have multiple teeth extracted or spent a long time under anesthesia, your vet may keep her overnight on fluids and pain medications. Your cat will then be discharged on oral antibiotics for you to give at home.


Submitted by Anonymous
Answered by Mark Verdino

 

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