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Dentals - Are They Safe?

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 
The last time I was at the vet the doctor said that my cat is due for a dental and she recommended I bring her in within 6 months; well, it's about that time. I've heard that the anaesthesia can be dangerous in a sense that the cat may not wake up; is this true? What are the risks?
post #2 of 5
Just like in people, all surgery and anesthesia has risks. Some cats may be sensitive or allergic to a particular type of anesthesia or may have a preexisting condition. The vet will probably offer pre-operative blood work--I would suggest doing this as it verifies that liver, kidney, and blood values are within normal before surgery. Most cats handle anesthesia well, and there are risks to not having the teeth cleaned as well, as broken and infected teeth will allow bacteria into the bloodstream, where it can damage organs, including the heart, kidney and liver. Painful teeth can also result in a cat not eating.

I would talk to the vet beforehand about your concerns. Find out which anesthetics will be used. Certain anesthetic agents are safer than others as they are processed differently by the body. I have had surgeries, mostly dentals, performed on three of my cats. None had any complications, and the youngest of the bunch was 9 years old--the others were much older. Odo has had three dentals in the past 2 years. Spot had a dental and a couple of other surgeries--he also had risk factors like hyperthyroidism and heart disease. Willow had surgery when she was very ill so that a feeding tube could be inserted. None of the cats had complications related to the surgeries. I did do research before most of them (except Spot's--I didn't know there were options back then), and I made sure my vet was using the anesthetic agents that I believe are the safest, propofol and isoflurane.

Every surgery has risks, but I feel that the need for the surgery usually outweighs those risks by improving the quality of life for my cats. The following links may be helpful to you:

post #3 of 5
I will echo cloud_shade's input - don't "scimp" - have the bloodwork done.

I intend to follow the following recommendations whenever any of mine may require anesthesia...when (if) you read through this, disregard that the information is coming from a site dealing with kidney failure...this applies to all cats. I'd suggest you have a read, print it off and discuss the procedures with your Vet. The safest types of anesthesia are listed in this as well.

You've said nothing as to the age of your cat. The pre-procedure bloodwork will only (with respect to existing kidney function) indicate a problem if more than 60+ % of the function has already been lost.....as kidney function generally reduces in elderly cats, you might want to consider a much more accurate test if your cat is "senior". You can read about it here]

In a recent case I'm aware of, the Vet recommended a two-day stint on IV fluids post-surgery for an older cat.
post #4 of 5
Thread Starter 

Thank you both very much for your help; you've been extremely helpful.
post #5 of 5
There are risks to anesthesia for any living thing, people or animal. But there are certain things that also have to be done for the health of the animal. Spaying and neutering most importantly, and dentals are quite important though often overlooked until gum disease and gingivitis put an animals life at risk. Besides any other sort of surgery that may be needed for health concerns, diseases or injury.
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