Feline Dental Disease / Stomatitas – Problems with Anaesthetics
We have a beautiful rescue cat that has been part of our family for 6 years. We are unsure of his age or breed. On the basis of some health complications that have occurred and the opinions of a couple of vets we now think he may be around 13 years (several years older than we had previously thought). As far as breed, he certainly has some Burmese and we think probably Siamese and Himalayan also.
In the first year we had him it was necessary for him to have a tooth extracted, but he reacted badly to the anaesthetic and we nearly lost him shortly after he came out of the operation. We have moved on from the original vet, but have always been very reluctant to put him through any treatment requiring a general anaesthetic again. The vet themselves recommended avoiding a general anaesthetic if at all possible. Since they never fully figured out what the problem was, it is very difficult to assess the actual risk however.
Anyway moving on from that, a few years back he was diagnosed with thyroid problems. And we have him on a special diet for that, which he has responded well to.
However, in the past few months he has developed problems with his teeth, and it is evidently causing him discomfort and getting worse. His breathing has been gurgly, and he wheezes quite a bit (especially at night). His breath has a strong odor. He is evidently irritated particularly on the left side of his jaw and taken to scratching that a little too vigorously, causing soreness under his ear on that side.
We have made many visits to the vet over the past few months. Under normal circumstances they would have tried to give him a general anaesthetic and do some dental work, but because of the risks in his case we tried a different route through antibiotics and anti-inflammatories.
The meds are Prednisolone 5mg, and Clamavox 62.5 mg.
The first course of those back in early December seemed to work really well. He was noticeably improved after only 2 days. No odor, no apparent discomfort. Things went well until he finished the course, and then after only a few days he deteriorated again.
Since they didn't want to start on the anti-biotic (Clamavox) again right away the vet suggested trying just the anti-inflammatory (Prednisolone) to control the inflammation and pain. That seemed to help a bit, but then one night he got violently sick, so we backed off that for a while.
The most recent thing we have tried is another course of both meds. The Clamavox has been replaced by Clavaseptin, but we are told that it is a brand name for the exact same thing. But we have reduced the amount of Prednisolone to 1/2 tablet (i.e. 2.5mg), on approximately a 36 hour cycle.
If anything we think that his condition is either holding steady or deteriorating slightly. And of course when he comes to the end of this course of antibiotics (today) then probably things will get worse again.
So we have a very difficult choice. We can schedule him for surgery with the knowledge that he did not do well last time. Or we can keep trying these “pulse” course of anti-biotics and anti-inflam's that seem to be steadily reducing in effectiveness.
The vet says that even if he makes it through surgery then the outcome will depend on exactly what is going on. She mentioned that it may be dental disease or stomatitas. If the latter then the operation may still not fix the problem, and we will be back to some sort of management.
Are there any other options that we could consider? We would be so deeply grateful for any advice, however minor. I don't think we've had a good night's sleep for quite some time worrying about this on top of life's usual problems.