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Feline and Canine Resorptive Lesions

Feline and Canine

Resorptive Lesions

Hearing the term resorptive lesion during an exam of your pet’s mouth can be confusing. It is a very strange concept but one that is very critical to a pet’s dental health. Cats are very frequently infected by resorptive lesions. It has been reported that up to 60% of cats over 6 years of age have at least one lesion in their mouth. Dogs rarely get resorptive lesions but the signs are similar.

The lesion often appears as a red, raw defect on any tooth crown or at the junction of the tooth with the gums, almost like a cavity. Cats affected with tooth resorption sometimes show bleeding in the mouth, salivation, or have problems eating normally.

Tooth resorptions can be very painful, however it is astounding the number of affected cats that don’t show any signs. This is a testament to the amazing ability of pets to hide pain.

One of the ways we diagnose resorption is to use a dental probe to gently touch the lesion while the pet is under anesthesia. When the probe touches the lesion, it causes bleeding, pain or jaw spasms. X-rays can be very helpful in making a diagnosis and planning therapy for the tooth.

Without therapy the pain will gradually worsen and may cause complete loss of the ability to eat. The therapy can include complete extraction of the tooth or a procedure called crown amputation, both of which are done here at our hospital.