Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Visit to the Vet

 Harris relaxes post-vet.

Harris and Toffee went to the vet for their annual checkups and rabies shots one night last week. We managed to catch them both and get them into their carriers with minimal struggle, which was great. Toffee received a clean bill of health, which was also great, but Harris has signs of tooth resorption for the second time, so he will be going back in a few weeks to have another tooth removed, this time one of his lower fangs.

We feel very bad about this, although our vet assured us that toothbrushing can't prevent resorption, and there is no plaque on that tooth. She said it's a very common problem and no one knows the cause. It seems to be an auto-immune disorder. It affects house cats, ferals, and barn cats alike, so it's probably not the result of feeding commercial cat food or giving vaccines, or other things we well-meaning humans do to our cats.

We are miserable that Harris's toothy grin will be asymmetrical in photos where he has his mouth open, although his remaining "fangoes" are so large and magnificent that even three will be more impressive than a full set of standard cat teeth. Here's a photo that now breaks my heart:

I asked about implants and dentures, and the vet simply said, "No." Then we got serious and asked about chewing, and she told us that fangs are only used for killing, not eating, so he will be fine.

I don't know about that. Harris loves to kill his favorite toys on a regular basis, but I guess his upper fangs can do a lot of the work.

During his exam, Harris hissed at the vet and at us, so we all fawned over him and did our best to be deferential as the vet administered the rabies shot into the end of his tail. It didn't help; he hates all things Vet and kept shooting us killing looks of deadly hate rays. Our vet tried cowering at one point to see if he'd relent, and he didn't.

It takes more skill and time to give an injection in the tail, but we worry about vaccine-associated sarcoma, and losing a length of tail is much better than losing a leg or dealing with a tumor on any other part of the body.

Harris hissed enthusiastically at everyone when we came home, including me. To him, I am a big, weird cat. But just a few hours later he snuggled against me as we watched Rachel Maddow, a record recovery time for him.

We are taking Lion and Possum to the vet tomorrow. Lion is having a check-up and a shot, while Possum is having his teeth checked again for signs of resorption, since he's had it before and one tooth looked iffy when the vet examined him in the fall. I can't stand the thought of our cats suffering from painful mouths, and I'm terrible at inspecting their teeth when we brush them, so we take any hint of mouth trouble seriously.

Harris's dental surgery won't be for a few more weeks, so I will be trying to shoot as many fang photos as I can in the meantime. Poor Harris.


  1. "shooting us killing looks of deadly hate rays"...LOL! I would have asked about replacement teeth too! Poor Harris, but if he'll be pain-free, then that's good. Sweetie, our feral, was NOT FRIENDLY, until I had trapped her and gotten a complete dental on her. She is missing 19 teeth, and there were three stubs that the vet removed and fixed up. Sweetie became SWEETIE the next day; that mouth pain kept her grumpy and unsocial, but she's a changed cat now. Just my 2 cents worth...

  2. Jack lost one of his canines.. actually he lost all the teeth on that side of that jaw.. Eating is not an issue.. nor is carrying around a toy. I have a theory it has something to do with the nutrition kitties get as kittens as well as some genetic component because Eli and Muffin ate poorly as kittens and Eli had major illness that prevented him from eating well for weeks and their teeth are just fine


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