Saturday, August 19, 2006

my cat is allergic to his own teeth

So Lucy's cat, Al, is kind of freakish. We've had him since he was a tiny little thing, weighing only 10 ounces or so (we were his foster parents; I bottlefed him). He's skeletal but bizarrely ravenous, mooching food very aggressively. Al is so sweet and such a beta cat by nature. The major selling point for adopting him was that he allowed Lucy, then only two, to swaddle him in a towel and pretend he was a human baby.

He has always had bad breath and pinkish gums, and today, on a visit for suspected earmites, I asked the vet to take a look in his mouth. Previously I tried treating his inflamed gums with an over-the-counter substance which you add to the cats' water. The only result was that the cats shunned their water and survived for a week by licking the tub out after Anton or I took a shower.

So the new vet (I dramatically fired our old vet last week) first ruled out feline HIV and feline leukemia, and then said, "This is going to sound crazy, but this is the best way to explain it. Some cats are allergic to their own teeth. That's not exactly accurate, but it's the closest I can come to describing it." The vet put Al on antibiotics, which he doesn't expect to fix his gums but feels he should try. After that, it's on to a course of steroids. And if the steroids fail, I'm supposed to have all of Al's teeth pulled by a feline dentist under anesthesia, which should cost ~$1,000. (Yes, I will get a second opinion before I have his teeth pulled).

Anton, who previously questioned the point of his entire existence when a vet bill for some sickly rats exceeded his daily pay ("I can't work for rats"), can't be expected to pony up for this without a fight.


Silliyak said...


Anonymous said...

Well, seems it's been a while since you posted this, but I've been told the same thing about my cat! Can you tell me what ended up happening with your kitty?? I used to be a vet assistant, and I NEVER heard of this! I'm balking at paying that amount of money to have all of my cat's teeth pulled, and wonder how much quality of life he would have after if I DO pony up...but then again, he is my kitty, and I would pay any amount of money to care for my daughter and see not much difference in my daughter and my cat, I love them both. Anyway, I was just wondering what happened with yours, email me if you don't mind: Thanks! And hope everything did go well with him!


Kate said...

I'm with Jessica - my vet too just told me the same thing. You don't happen to know the technical term for this disease, do you? My cat has a raw, inflamed throat from it and is going in to have all his teeth pulled next week. I feel heartsick over it. Please message me and let me know how it went for you!

the Drunken Housewife said...

I'm so sorry, Jessica and Kate, that I haven't followed up on this. I have not yet had Al's teeth pulled. I plan to have them pulled later this year (we're expecting some extra income later this year, and if that happens, I'll be able to get the poor thing's teeth out).

He's been limping along, poor baby. Al is still super skeletal, weighing only about 4 lbs as an adult cat. He has bad breath and pink, inflamed gums. We had a crisis last year, where he had to go on steroids and be admitted to the vet hospital for the day for IV fluids & antibiotics. At that time, a different vet confirmed that diagnosis of "allergic to his own teeth." Since that, there haven't been any more crises. I was waiting for another crisis OR the money to be available to get the dental surgery done. He gets through each day okay now, but he's so skinny and weird (Al does have quality of life, though; he purrs and enjoys time with his favorite people).

I have also subsequently heard of a cat with that diagnosis who put on a lot of weight once he got the offending teeth pulled.

Anonymous said...

whats interesting is the cat really isn't alergic to the teeth but the basteria and such, the conditon is called stomatitis, look it up it is a frequent cause for cats to have their teeth pulled...but no worry cats do not chew food the slice and dice with thier teeth, so small kibbles of dry food can be used and you have no need to feed wet food for other than the time the cats mouth heals, ours is 5 years old and toothless and does just fine.

Regina said...

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