Cat Tooth Abscess: What You Need to Know
Dental problems in cats are fairly common. This is usually due to the small size of their mouths, making bacteria easy to spread when not kept clean. Unfortunately, a buildup of this bacteria can cause cat tooth abscesses, in some cases.
When cats have a tooth abscess, they will likely experience some pain in the mouth. This could lead to them eating strangely or less than usual. Luckily, tooth abscesses in cats are usually treatable by a vet, and the pain should subside once the abscess is treated properly.
In this article, we will be explaining everything that you need to know about tooth abscesses in cats. This will include what causes tooth abscesses in cats and how tooth abscesses in cats are treated. We will also be answering some other commonly asked questions about this problem in cats as well. Let’s get into it.
What is a Tooth Abscess?
A tooth abscess is a pocket of pus that is surrounded by inflamed tissue. Abscesses are caused by a bacterial infection, and this infection usually needs to be present for some time in order for a full-blown abscess to form.
How do Cats Get Tooth Abscesses?
Most of the time cats will get a tooth abscess after they have broken or cracked a tooth. The bacteria in the mouth will infect this tooth and create an abscess at the broken tooth’s root. Of course, the presence of dental disease already in the mouth will put a cat at a greater risk of developing a tooth abscess when breaking or cracking a tooth. When this occurs, the tooth is usually dead and needs to be removed.
What are the Signs of a Tooth Abscess in Cats?
There are multiple signs of tooth abscesses in cats that cat owners can look out for. Here are some of the most common symptoms of tooth abscesses in cats.
- Showing signs of pain when eating or chewing on toys
- Favoring one side of the mouth when eating
- Swelling around the mouth and eye on one side of the face
- Having difficulty picking up food and dropping food when eating
- Discharge coming from the mouth (may be bloody)
- Pus present in the mouth
- Only eating soft foods and avoiding hard kibble
If you notice any of the above signs of a tooth abscess in your cat, then it is recommended that you take them to the vet as soon as possible.
Are Tooth Abscesses in Cats an Emergency?
Tooth abscesses are not an immediate threat to a cat’s life. However, they are still serious. This means that you do not necessarily need to rush your cat to an emergency vet if you suspect that they have a tooth abscess, but you should make a vet appointment at the soonest available time. This will reduce the amount of pain that your cat is possibly going through and prevent further complications from occurring.
How are Tooth Abscesses in Cats Diagnosed?
A veterinarian will likely ask you questions about your cat’s condition and do a physical exam on your cat’s mouth. Depending on their findings they may also take an X-Ray of your cat’s mouth and take a sample of the affected area for testing.
How are Tooth Abscesses in Cats Treated?
When treating a cat tooth abscess, vets will take multiple courses of action. The first will usually be to put your cat on pain medication and antibiotics. The antibiotics will help your cat’s body fight off the bacterial infection in the mouth, and the pain medication will help your cat feel more comfortable.
Next, your vet will need to remove your cat’s tooth and drain the abscess. Since this procedure requires that the cat be put under anesthesia, it is possible that your vet may be unavailable to do this on the same day as your initial appointment. During the procedure, cats will usually be given something to numb the pain that would otherwise occur after the tooth removal. Any incisions will be closed with stitches.
Can Cats Recover from Tooth Abscesses?
With proper treatment, most cats recover just fine after a tooth abscess. They may change their eating habits a bit due to missing teeth, but this shouldn’t alter their quality of life very much.
Can Tooth Abscesses in Cats Heal on Their Own?
No, a tooth abscess cannot heal on its own, and tooth abscesses in cats always require veterinary treatment to heal properly. As a result, you should always take your cat to the vet if they are showing signs of having a tooth abscess.
What Can Happen if a Cat’s Tooth Abscess is Left Untreated?
Unfortunately, tooth abscesses can cause serious and life-threatening complications in cats when left untreated. The main threat is sepsis, which occurs when the bacterial infection from the tooth abscess spreads throughout the body.
Sepsis is a very dangerous and life-threatening condition that is a medical emergency, and it requires emergency veterinary care to save a cat’s life. As a result, it is always best to take your cat to the vet as soon as you notice a tooth abscess.
Can You Prevent Tooth Abscesses in Cats?
There are two main things that cat owners can do to prevent their cats from getting tooth abscesses. The first is to prevent their cat from developing dental disease. You can do this by cleaning your cat’s teeth regularly. Additionally, keeping your cat from chewing or biting on hard objects such as bones and metal will help prevent them from breaking teeth, which also helps prevent tooth abscesses in cats.
Some veterinarians may also recommend professional tooth cleanings through the vet office for cats that are at risk of developing dental disease, have dental disease already, or have had a tooth abscess in the past. These tooth cleanings are done when the cat is under anesthesia, and it is more thorough than what most people can do cleaning their cat’s teeth at home. Professional teeth cleanings like this will help prevent tooth abscesses in cats as well.
Taking care of your cat’s teeth is a vital step in taking care of their overall health and wellness. If you are looking for a vet to take care of your cat’s teeth in Montgomery, AL, Montgomery Veterinary Associates is here for you. We provide dental exams, cat teeth cleaning, and care for cat tooth abscesses. Book an appointment with us online today!