The story of Arthur is yet another example of the importance of dental care in our feline friends of all ages.
Arthur is a confident orange tabby senior gentleman who we’ve been lucky to know for many years. His parents enjoy traveling near and far, and when they do, we have the honor of caring for “Arty” at Cat Care Clinic. We know his quirks such as that he stares at his canned food until it’s freshly mushed, he’s generally docile but comes across a little standoff-ish, and he’s achy in his hind limbs so has a preferred room and bedding to snuggle in. He knows how to ask for our attention and we love giving it to him.
Arthur’s owners have been very proactive with his health care needs. He comes for routine physical exams, has an excellent diet, and minor medical issues have been discovered and addressed before becoming a big problem. During a routine screening years ago, he was found to be hypertensive, and his blood pressure has been well controlled with appropriate medication and monitoring. Lately Arthur’s osteoarthritis has been more evident with a decrease in activity, hesitant jumping, and less grooming, but this too has been managed with appropriate joint medications.
In July of 2016, while boarding with us, a mass was found that turned out to be a type of skin cancer commonly found in cats. Since Arthur was still thriving and health was still overall good, surgery to remove the mass was done at the clinic and our guy Arty did great through it all and recovered well.
In the months following, Arty did well, but daily rituals slowed and he was just “off”. His appetite dropped and he slowly lost weight. On physical exam, he had a suspicious lower premolar with sensitivity and the gums were red and swollen at the base. Before considering tending to that tooth, we needed to make sure (especially at his age) that there was no other cause for his declining weight and appetite. Thorough lab work revealed he still had excellent kidney function, an ultrasound of his abdomen revealed no intestinal thickening or other explanation for his weight loss, and other tests and exams revealed good heart, lungs, and overall health.
At 19 years of age, there was still no other health reason not to move forward to tend to the affected tooth. During his next stay with us, a dental procedure was planned to investigate the tooth closer. Dental radiographs confirmed the suspicion that the premolar had decay within it (resorption) and Arthur had oral surgery to remove the painful tooth. Arthur was very stable through the whole procedure and recovered well, once again.
Two weeks later, at recheck of his procedure, the extraction site had healed well. Arthur’s dad reported he was already eating better and behaving more lively. He even was exhibiting more playful behaviors like “herding” his dad, vocalizing and strutting in his dad’s way at morning feeding time, and overall seemed more content. Needless to say, his owners were very thankful to have had the procedure and given Arthur the care he needed.
We continue to look forward to having Arthur in our care and he continues to charm us each time. His parent’s commitment to maintaining his comfort and quality of life is touching and we’re all honored to be a part of his care.
Kat Luther, DVM