3 Ways Cat Dental Disease Affects Your Senior Cat’s Health
As your furry pal ages, they are faced with many health changes. Their vision dims, their hearing becomes muffled, and their gait becomes unsteady. They also are likely to suffer from cat dental disease, which can affect not just their mouth but their entire body. Here are a few ways oral bacteria, dental disease, and periodontal problems affect your senior cat’s overall health.
#1: Your senior cat’s organs can become diseased
When a cat develops dental disease, the significant bacterial load within the mouth can enter the bloodstream and travel throughout the body. The organs most affected by oral bacteria are the heart, kidneys, and liver. The bacteria found in the mouths of cats with dental disease are the same bacteria associated with endocarditis and valvular disease. Additionally, the liver and kidneys can become inflamed and infected by filtering blood filled with traveling oral bacteria, which can cause fever, lack of appetite, and weight loss.
#2: Your senior cat may not take their medication
Gingivitis, tooth-root abscesses, loose teeth, fractured teeth, and a weakened jawbone caused by cat dental disease can make your senior cat’s mouth extremely painful. When your cat’s mouth hurts, they may refuse to eat, which can make it difficult to administer oral medication. If you need to give your cat oral medication, either through a syringe or by “pilling” them, it can be impossible to hold their muzzle and open their mouth enough to safely do so when they’re in pain. Without their daily medication, your senior cat’s health can suffer as their chronic disease progresses.
#3: Your senior cat may find it difficult to eat
Senior cats often have decreased appetites because of concurrent diseases that make eating difficult or unappealing. Nausea from chronic renal failure or pain medication, gastrointestinal upset from irritable bowel disease (IBD) or intestinal lymphoma, and stress from cognitive dysfunction may cause your senior cat to lose their appetite. Pairing these issues with painful dental disease can cause your cat’s appetite to decline further.