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What do you know about FORL (Feline Resorptive Lesions)?

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 
My one year old Siamese just had 3 teeth extracted during a routine cleaning. The vet found Feline Resorptive Lesions, a disease that is caused when a middle aged cat's body tries to reabsorb its teeth from the root working outward to the enamel. It's normal for a kitten's body to reabsorb the roots of its baby teeth, but the mechanism sometimes goes awry in adult cats and makes for an incredibly painful disease.

The thing is...I'm not exactly sure if my cat has this disease - he's only a year old and he ate, played, and cuddled like a normal pain-free kitty before and after the procedure.

I have a couple of questions for anyone who might know: Is it possible he was misdiagnosed by our vet? If he does suffer from FORL, is there an alternative to extracting teeth? (Doing the math - 3 teeth a year is going to leave my little guy toothless by the time he's middle aged!) Also, is there more that I can do besides feeding him tartar-control food and brushing his teeth daily? Thanks in advance for your thoughts and insights.
post #2 of 5
Two of my cats has FORLS, one was 4 years old, the other 9. It can happen at any age. Despite it being a painful disease, I never saw any sign of discomfort from either of my cats. I found out when I took them in for their routine annual exam and dental check-up. I felt terribly guilty when I was told they had this condition. Both of them had the affected teeth extracted.

There is no alternative to extracting the tooth once it has begun to decay. And unfortunately, there is nothing you can do to stop it from recurring if your cat is predisposed to developing the lesions. Brushing the teeth and using treats with enzymatic cleaning action (ex. C.E.T. chews) will help, but you'll still need to bring your kitty in for a dental check-up each year to stay on top of the situation.

You mentioned feeding tartar control food; I'm assuming you mean dry. Dry food DOES NOT prevent tartar build-up on the teeth, and canned food DOES NOT cause tartar to form, so do feed him a high-quality canned food - it's better for his general health. If he actually did need to have all teeth extracted eventually, he'd be fine. You'd be amazed at what toothless cats can still eat! But hopefully, that will not happen.

You're smart to be concerned about this, since poor dental health can cause various secondary conditions that can become serious.
post #3 of 5
Thread Starter 
Thanks KTLynn for sharing your experience. It's a huge relief.

Did you by any chance take your cat to a animal dental specialist? My regular vet did the cleaning and extractions, as she suspected something during his annual check-up. I have read a few articles on the web about limited success with filling these cavities, rather than extracting teeth, and wonder if a specialist up on the latest technologies might be able to try a more advanced procedure.

I have worried about which food to provide my kitty and his brother. On my way out of the vet's office after his surgery (and in my moment of combined guilt, anxiety and hope), I bought a bag of Hill's tartar control dry food on the recommendation of the vet. By the time I transitioned my guys onto it a few days later, I came to my senses and realized that it was of a much lower quality than their original food and would make them prone to other problems. I'm thankful to hear that food type doesn't necessarily relate to tartar buildup! Now if I can only get him and his brother to love the toothbrush...

Thanks again!
post #4 of 5
Thread Starter 
I just made a follow-up visit to my vet to see how my kitty's extractions scars are healing, and learned a little more about FORL. The vet said that the lesions have a tendency to occur in certain teeth - usually the pre-molars - and that a cat's entire set of teeth aren't necessarily susceptible.

The best thing that can be done, besides hoping for the best, is getting your cat's teeth checked regularly to ensure that if the lesions do appear they don't progress to the point of pain. Also the Vet recommended tooth brushing, regular cleanings and tartar control treats - even though they didn't prevent FORL they would obviously prevent other dental ailments.

Anyway - thought I'd share with you what I learned today!
post #5 of 5
I recently went to a lecture by a dental specialist. Soime things that they are suspecting cause FORL include an overabundance of vitamin D. Foods high in fish tend to have a lot of Vit D. Some of the evidence for this stems from ancient egypt as mummified cats were found to suffer from this exact problem. Cats from fishing communities (close to the sea or river) were found to have higher rates of FORL's. Feeding a good quality diet will help although some cats (siamese seem prone to dental issues) will have this problem worse than others. Usually it affects only some of the teeth.
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