Neemo had inflammation of his gums from a very young age (juvenile gingivitis), starting before he was even a year old. Unfortunately the inflammation progressed and by the time Neemo turned two, the gingivitis was severe and he required dental work to try to restore comfort to his mouth.
Redness and bleeding shows acute gingivitis and some tooth disintegration
It was only after we had anaesthetised Neemo and had taken digital dental radiographs that we could see the true nature of the damage to his teeth, the extent of which could only be picked up by a digital dental x-ray machine such as the one we use in house. Every premolar and molar tooth was disintegrating with what are know as feline odontoclastic resorptive lesions (FORLs). As the name indicates, it’s a painful condition only suffered by cats.
Unfortunately, there is no treatment other than to remove all the affected teeth, so, whilst leaving his canines in situ, the rest of poor Neemo’s teeth had to be extracted.
There are two forms of FORLs: one in which the roots disintegrate as well as the teeth, and another where the teeth rot away but the roots are left healthy and intact in the gums. Unfortunately for Neemo he had the form with healthy roots. This meant every root had to be removed without leaving any behind or the inflammation would not resolve.
Digital dental x-rays reveal FORLs
Neemo in theatre undergoing dental work
The roots of cats’ teeth are very fine and easily broken and many of Neemo’s extractions needed to be ‘open’. This is where the gum is cut, pulled away from the bone and a ‘window’ of bone over the root is removed to ensure that the whole root is properly loosened and completely removed before the gum is sutured back in place – a very long and delicate procedure. Although it’s a huge procedure, we know it will make a world of difference to Neemo’s quality of life.
Sutured gums immediately post surgery
Photo showing extent of Neemo’s extractions