Rotten Teeth Gone

The happiness of being adoptable!

Poor Gu Gu the cat. She might be better renamed “Gum Gum” since we had to remove almost all of her teeth recently. Still, like most cats with horrible dental disease, she’s better off without them and maybe now she’ll find a home.

Gu Gu was surrendered to the Quinte Humane Society (QHS) late last year and quickly purred her way into the affections of the kind-hearted crew who work there. She came nosing around for attention during one of my mornings helping out at the shelter and I was asked for an opinion about her mouth.

“Yuck,” said I, offering my very professional assessment.Gu Gu the cat

“Yes, we know, but is she still adoptable?” the QHS staff asked the fateful question. If a cat is not fit for adoption, shelters are generally in the unhappy position of having to euthanize the animal. Not many people will adopt a cat that needs more than $1000 worth of dental care.

Suffice to say that Gu(m) Gu(m) worked her magic on me and my boss Dr. Steen as well. After a complimentary visit to Hillcrest where she was relieved of more than 20 teeth, Gu Gu achieved that crucial state of being adoptable – happy ending coming soon, we hope.

It’s a nice coincidence that this kitty’s tale was written on the eve of Animal Dental Health Month in February. And I’m going to seize this opportunity to suggest all pet owners at least take a look in their cats’ and dogs’ mouths. Always keen to avoid law suits, I’ll add that some pets won’t take kindly to this, so be careful please or ask your veterinarian for help.

If there is a bad odour, obvious pain, tartar or loose teeth, professional dental care is probably needed. Many clinics offer special deals for Dental Month.

Healthy mouths may just need help to stay that way. Yes, chewing is good. Yes, there are mouthwash-type water additives that work. Unfortunately, the single best way to keep your pets’ mouths healthy is brushing at least three times a week with a special animal-safe toothpaste. Help with brushing is available from your veterinarian and online resources, such as Brushing kitty’s teeth video, Do dogs giggle or try Veterinary Partner Dental Care Series. Our own Dr. Wernham has also prepared a summary of dental care information on the Hillcrest Animal Hospital website.

In the meantime, if you are interested in adopting a lovable and relatively toothless cat or any of the horde of homeless at the shelter, contact the QHS at (613) 968-4673.

Dr. Fiona Gilchrist, DVM

Hillcrest Animal Hospital

February 2012