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Holly – a case history.

Holly came to Jaffa’s as on overweight 15 year old cat. Over the last 4 or 5 years she had taken to being on her own much of the time, not wanting to be around either the owners or their other cat. She didn’t play with toys, and did not enjoy being stroked or handled. She was being fed on dried food, and never missed her annual health checks and vaccinations.

On clinical examination I found her to have a scurfy dry coat. She had obvious tooth lesions which merited further investigation, though her owner was not aware that Holly was suffering from dental disease. When questioned, it transpired that she was eating on one side of the mouth, and tilting her head to one side when chewing. On a daily basis she was bringing her food back up shortly after swallowing it. She had stopped crunching on dried food.

We examined her mouth fully under anaesthetic, and X rayed all her teeth. We found both her lower canine teeth (the fangs) to be eaten away on the inside – one showed nothing from the outside, whilst the other had a little hole in its side giving the game away. These were extracted along with most of her other teeth.

This is an X ray of a healthy cat’s mouth, with a canine tooth  outlined in red.

The line up the middle of the tooth is the root canal, in which we find blood vessels and nerves.

This is Holly’s x ray. You cannot see the normal root structure and the root canal can barely be seen.

The tooth on the right has a hole in the enamel, which could be seen with her conscious. Both teeth will be painful, but this one will be excruciatingly so.

The left tooth looked normal to the naked eye.

This X ray is of the upper jaw. There are similar resorbing changes in the right tooth.

If these teeth are left to their own devices, the crown of the tooth will end up snapping off!

After her dental work, Holly was swapped from dry kibble to everyday moist foods.

3 months later she is a different cat. Her weight has dropped from 3.9kg to 3.3 kg, and her coat is sleek and shiney with no dandruff. The food regurgitation has stopped and she has started playing again. She now wants to be involved with her owners all the time, and will sit in front of the television alone purring madly. She no longer takes herself off to bed, and does not avoid the other cat as she did – though they still don’t get on well!

Outside she has taken to seeing off other cats who invade her territory and has more confidence. Her owner is absolutely delighted (as are we) and says that she’s now simply  “ a happy cat”.

Holly’s case illustrate so well a number of things

 Common signs of dental pain - which are not obvious signs of discomfort!

 How painful dental disease can go unrecognised

 The importance of diet in weight control (and not a ‘prescription’ or ‘light’ diet in sight)

This is the new, sleek, shiny, slim-line Holly. Not bad for a 15 yr old cat, eh?