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Dental care

Discussion in 'Cat Health and Nutrition' started by tylow, Jul 7, 2009.


  1. tylow

    tylow PetForums VIP

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    Hi Folks,
    Having had Ty for his 1st booster and checkup vet pointed out a bit of redness on top gum. He prefers his dry food and we give him dental treats so looking for a bit of advice? Have read about plaque off, anybody used it?
     

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  2. Riverwish

    Riverwish PetForums Member

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    I use plaque off for Aber as before he was rescued he had gingivitis. He can't eat dry food because it makes him constipated, the rescue centre said this may be why he had it so bad because he didn't have the crunchyness to help clear the plaque away. They ended up having to remove most of his teeth but they recommended we use this for his remaining teeth.

    It's quite expensive but you only use half a scoop a day and the scoop is tiny, at a guess i'd say about a quarter of a teaspoon.

    Seems to do the trick as he's not had any problems yet since he's been with us.

    Reading about dental care in cats most recommend brushing their teeth, Aber won't go for this as he's too set in his ways but it's certainly a cheaper option if your cat will tolerate it :)
     
  3. tylow

    tylow PetForums VIP

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    Thanks riverwish :) Our two aren't too bad at getting their teeth brushed so probs best getting into the routine! I suppose compared to the panacur nightmare tooth brushings a doddle :D
     
  4. Coraline

    Coraline PetForums Member

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    All this talk about toothbrushing and dental treats makes me wonder... how did any cats keep their teeth before we started keeping them as pets? How did they make do without us brushing their teeth? :confused:

    The answer is they got by just fine, by eating food that's appropriate for them. Because of the way we now feed our cats, the food gives no resistance for the teeth and so doesn't clean them - despite what the commercials for dry food say. The best you can do for your cat's health is to change his food to something better, i.e. wet food only, with a LOT of meat in it, and then give him some raw chicken wings to eat once or twice a week.

    If you're interested, there's so much information available on dry food and why it's bad for not only cat's teeth, but also their overall health, and how it's caused diabetes, cystitis, kidney failure, etc. This website gives a good overview of the dangers of dry food: The Truth About Dry Cat Food from Blakkatz

    Plaque off is good and it works, I've used it with my cat since I got him and he's now almost a year and a half. At his yearly checkup my vet commented that his teeth looked like they'd been polished :) Then again, I wouldn't attribute it completely to Plaque Off, as my cat is also eating an appropriate diet - i.e. raw food with bones.

    Turns out my answer answers a lot more than you asked for! :smilewinkgrin: I just can't sit by and know that someone is feeding food that's not ideal (to put it mildly), when I know that most people who come on this forum want nothing but the best for their furbabies. So I always try to make people aware, so that they can make an informed decision about what to feed. Before I got my cat I had no idea that the cat food you buy in the shop is so unsuitable for cats, and I'm still having a hard time believing that they get away with selling it. But they do. :(
     
  5. tylow

    tylow PetForums VIP

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    Hi Coraline,
    Thank you for your reply thread and i must say having looked at your profile your cats are absolutely stunning examples of their breed :)
    Perhaps i didn't make myself clear enough on my original post. My cat prefers dry food this most certainly doesn't mean he is fed solely on it! Indeed he is given applaws, almo nature, purely and raw mince on a regular basis. Iam only too aware of the dangers of a complete dry food diet,especially in neutered birman housecats. Unfortunately our boys as far removed from the hunting wildcats of years gone by as you could possibly get, in fact i'm sure he's under the delusion he's more human than feline so chicken wings etc are not something he's entertained. Having been weaned onto dry food when we acquired him we persevered to the extent that he now has his dry food down when we're out all day at work.
    I respect your views and desire to provide what you consider to be best for your cats however i'm also aware there are many people on the forum who, for their own reasons feed their cats what others consider to be substandard food. This doesn't necessarily mean they care for their pets health and wellbeing any the less. Only yesterday whilst out on a house visit i came across a 21 year old moggy who has lived his life on Whiskas and the likes!
    My aim is to prevent dental decay and gum disease becoming a problem and i'm encouraged that plaque off may be of prophylactic value in our case.
    With regards to cats teeth prior to tooth brushing, dental treats etc many lost them at a young age. This reply is long enough so i won't diversify onto feline evolution or domestication ;)
     
  6. spid

    spid PetForums VIP

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    This is not directed at anyone just a general point for discussion.

    Whilst it is true that many cats live a long and healthy life on Whiskas, and even whiskas dry food, reaching grand old ages, this doesn't make it a good thing. Just as now we have humans that have abused their bodies all their lives with smoking and drinking and still live to 110! It doesn't make what they are doing a good example for everyone to follow. On an evolutionary basis it takes hundreds and hundreds of years to evolve - the short time that cats have been domesticated to the degree they are today (50 years max) is not long enough for them to have evolved at all. All we as humans have done is change their 'culture' so to speak. Given the chance even te meakest of house cats will learn to hunt if they had to, if war time conditions came back they would have to earn their keep and they would all do so admirably. I have a friend who rescued a Birman who had been an indoor cat for all his life - calm, quiet, docile, wouldn't hurt a fly - except now he hurts all little animals - in the last week he has has a rabbit, birds (including a pigeon), and varies members of the rodent family. And this was a cat that was initially afraid to go outside! Dental and renal problems in cats is a new phenomonen which just happens to co-incide with the production of 'cat food'. Before this cats were fed scraps from the butchers, caught wild prey and had table scraps from their humans. Everything we do now for cats is post WW2.

    Having said all that I agree that it is the owners right to feed what they feel is best to feed, however, I fed crap, sorry, lower quality food, before I joined this forum (and wondered why I always ended up throwing half of it away after they had licked the jelly off - cheap food ended up expensive!) and thankfully had a few responses that made me go and research on the internet and I personally chose a different route. Now Presto loves his raw, the kittens love their raw, and Minnii tolerates it (she will come round I am determined she will).

    I do realise that Tylow asked about teeth cleaning and this is an issue I haven't had to deal with yet, other than to say when as a child the cats were fed scraps and fended for themselves we NEVER had an issue with teeth or gum problems. My first case of dealing with this was in our border collie (fed dry soley) needed a tooth out and a descale at the age of 1 year!!!!! I was horrified. My previous dog was fed wet and got to 15 without any dental problems at all. Subsequent cats that have had dental 'issues' were all fed dry; we shall see whether Presto and Minnii ever need any treatment (none so far at 2 years old). I fully believe that the cat and dog toothpaste industry is a direct result of companies seeing a way to make more money - instead of correcting the problems with the food that cause these problems (sugars in food etc) they have found a way to counteract these problems by making the owners buy more products. I am sure they work. Owners wouldn't keep coming back for more if they didn't, so it is in their interests to make these work.

    Right discussive piece over

    Tylow have you tried him with smaller bones - i.e rabbit chunks or quail. Alternatively have you tried the stuff that kiskasiberians (sp sorry) sells as that has bits of everything in it (bone included) and that might get him used to chewing on bone. Food4-Cats!, Just Food for Cats Nothing More! As you know my lot get a mixture of everything including a handful of JWB dry between them (need to use this up and then won't buy any more - but it is taking forever as they eat so little of it), raw, applaws, natures menu, nature, hi-life etc. You are great in being able to clean their teeth and I expect palque off will work. AND I think I beat you in the long post stakes.
     
  7. kozykatz

    kozykatz PetForums VIP

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    I recently attended a breeders' seminar and one of the talks was on dental health. The vet giving the talk was of the opinion that the only real solution was to brush the teeth, if not daily then at least 2 or 3 times per week. Of course not all cats would tolerate this and it would need to be started in kittenhood!

    Another suggestion is to rub something like aloe vera gel on the gums - it is safe and cats seem to find it quite soothing if their gums are sore.

    BTW Plaque Off was mentioned in the lecture and the speaker wasn't at all convinced that it did any good.
     
  8. tylow

    tylow PetForums VIP

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    Once again thanks for your replies this time to spid and kozykatz :)

    Firstly Spid you most certainly get best in show for long threads compared to my biting certificate :D So i'll not go into the evolution/domestication thing other than saying i agree with the post ww2 stuff but then we could delve into sociology, economics etc etc etc. Not sure i'd agree completely that dental and renal problems in cats is a new phenomonen entirely related to diet in so much as it has been highlighted as a result of advancing veterinary diagnostics and changes within our cat culture. I might be wrong on this one but my comparison in human terms would be MRSA, the new phenomenom - not!
    With regards to dental care diet does play an important role in the development and maintenance of healthy teeth so dietary advice is certainly appropriate in the context of my original post and something we may revisit in due course however in the meantime we will continue to brush both our cats teeth on a more regular basis and possibly try plaque off. We started brushing both the cats teeth as kittens and they thankfully tolerate this far better than grooming.

    Kozykatz- your seminar sounds like it would have been very interesting and the aloe vera gel on the gums is a usefull tip. Ty is totally oblivious to the fact he has a slight erythema on the right upper side of his gum and he willingly allows us to brush his teeth under threat he could end up looking like shane mcgowan from the pogues :D
    Interesting that the professionals are not convinced on the benefits of plaque off, I did notice one of the ingredients is a seaweed deriviative something that has worked for years in wound management. Still i suppose the proof of the pudding is in the eating so to speak.
     
  9. spid

    spid PetForums VIP

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    Oh. go on it could be fun and it's ages since I had a deep conversation without someone trying to bite my head off - forum and real world!!!!:D
     
  10. tylow

    tylow PetForums VIP

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    Lmao i should be filling in my ksf on health and wellbeing in the community setting so believe me a civilised debate on feline evolution/domestication would be far more fun ;) Alas ty and his health and wellbeing would not be a suitable case study analysis even tho he's most definately evolved from his temple days into a very cultured pussy who wouldn't hurt a fly:p
    Nytol :)
     
  11. catbasket

    catbasket PetForums Member

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    A friendly discussion sounds good to me!

    Spid, it is obvious you care about the health and quality of life of pets. I do to, but I also strongly disagree with the opinions expressed in your post and I'd like to present an alternative point of view -

    This makes no sense to me. Whiskas is not a good thing even though many cats live long and healthy lives on it? Maybe you meant "doesn't make it the best thing"? I can agree with that.

    You appear to be suggesting that in a time of rationing, and hence no pet food, the cats of the country will be able to live from hunting their own food. This might even work, for a few days, but once the majority of small wildlife has been killed and eaten what will the cats eat then? Each other? Then starve to death?

    Do you have any evidence for this? It seems to me that increases in dental and renal problems could very likely be easily explained by simple factors such as better quality health care leading to pets living longer.

    I hate that phrase. Scientists do research. Internet searches are not research. (Sorry, personal bugbear).

    Ah yes, raw meat, a wonderful potential source of disease. Also a raw meat only diet can cause skeletal problems - though I see this doesn't apply to your pets as they get other food as well. I'm intrigued though that you seem intent to force Minnii to eat raw food when she doesn't seem to enjoy it much.

    As far as I know there were problems in the past with pet foods not containing the correct balance of nutrients that the pet needed, but these problems were fixed decades ago and nowadays practically any commercial cat or dog food will keep your pet in good health. Okay some may be cheap and nasty and I wouldn't want to feed it to my worst enemy ... but actually causing the health problems? We're into conspiracy theory territory there.

    Step back a second and consider just how many thousands of people would have to be involved in that conspiracy. Also consider the large number of vets who would have to be a part of that conspiracy. In my experience the majority of vets tend to actually care about the health and welfare of animals. Which reminds me of the RSPCA, why aren't they campaigning against these pet foods which allegedly cause ill health in pets? I wonder if my wife (who works for the RSPCA) is part of the conspiracy?


    All the best, keep loving and caring for your pets for a long, long time!
     
  12. spid

    spid PetForums VIP

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    Okay, section by section,

    1) I didn't mean best I meant good - just because you like something doesn't make it good for you, just because some cats thrive on whiskas doesn't mean it is good for all cats in the long term, for example, just because some people smoke 60 a day and don't get lung cancer doesn't mean it is good for the populous as a whole to smoke 60 a day. Best doesn't fit that scenario.

    2) War rationing - we won't need to worry about the lack of rodents (though I suspect that the fertile breeding cycle of mice, rodents etc will outlast the cats appetite) - as as there won't be enough human food and cats will become a welcome source of protein. As happened on Guernsey in the occupation in WW2. Gross as it seems, it is a common scenario in war torn countries. That, and dog, become a life sustaining delicacy. The point was that cats haven't evolved to no longer be carnivorous and want to eat grains and vegetables - and that just because they are 'pussy cats' in the house, doesn't mean they now aren't capable of being excellent hunters in the outside, especially if it was needed. 50-100 years of domestication does not evolution make.

    3) Evidence for dental and renal problems - unfortunately this is down to anecdotal tales, first hand experience, and that infamous internet research, which as I'm not a scientist can't be counted :001_tt2: - however, I am able as a university graduate with 40+ years of life experience to read scientific research by real scientists that is posted on the internet and make up my own mind. Also I have friends who are INCREDIBLY intelligent (Oxford AND Cambridge grads with doctorates who work in the scientific fields (genetics and reaserch publication)) whom I am able to talk about these things with, so I don't sit on my own making up this stuff. In my opinion, the upsurge in these problems IS down to the new lifestyle and food we give our feline and canine companions.

    4) Research on the internet - your bugbear - if I had researched at the library would it be better, even if what I read was on the internet too, even though I'm not a scientist? Or is it the use of the word 'research'? Research as a word can mean
    1. diligent and systematic inquiry or investigation into a subject in order to discover or revise facts, theories, applications, etc.: recent research in medicine.
    2. a particular instance or piece of research.
    3. to make researches; investigate carefully.
    4. to make an extensive investigation into: to research a matter thoroughly

    Synonyms:
    1. scrutiny, study.
    4. study, inquire, examine, scrutinize

    Since when has it been that only a scientist can study, or enquire, or investigate carefully? As a by point, what is it with scientists needing to hold the moral high ground about research and their perogative to be the only people who can do it properly? It is research to me, it is the finding and collating of facts, and occasionally opinion, from many sources, confirming those sources, double checking, cross referencing, and then making an informed decision on ALL the facts available to me (both for and against) without having to take yet another degree to be allowed to have an opinion.

    5) Raw meat - cats stomachs and intestines have evolved (over millenia) to be able to deal with meat that for many other species, humans included, would cause problems. They are sufficiently able to cope with raw meat - otherwise all those feral cats would be keeling over and we wouldn't have the problems that some areas do have - it would be easy to solve - just throw a raw chicken wing at them. The raw meat that I buy is made to the highest standards, with preparation that meets all expected governmental health guidelines (and is actually MORE stringent than some practises for meat for human consumption), it has the required amount of vitamins, taurine, heart and offal, and bone all added to it. It is frozen until I decide to use it then thoroughly defrosted and stored in the fridge and used within 2 days. Ham stays in my fridge longer, and in this house, is probably eaten when questionable:eek:.

    6) Minnii - eating raw - force a cat? Have you tried it? Impossible! However, yes, I believe that a balanced raw meat diet is the way forward for my cats, and slowly I wish Minnii to take part in that diet. My kids like MacDonalds but I refuse to feed them that on a daily basis as I beleive it is bad for them so I 'force' them to eat healthy food instead, i.e I only provide heathy food so they don't really have a choice, same for the cats except I'm nicer and do it more slowly. Minnii is gradually coming round, it's been 3 months now and now she will eat some on a voluntary basis even when other food is down. Progress not forcing. Having been bought as a kitten who really only ate dry as that was what she was weaned onto, I am very happy with what I am doing. I wish others would follow suit but it is their choice. If I can get her onto a mainly raw diet in a year or so I will be happy. The trouble is when cats eat sugars and carbs they shouldn't have they get addicted to them, just like humans do. The palette needs re-educating, slowly but surely that's what I'm doing. Re-educating her, hopefully she will enjoy a long and healthy life because of it - and the best thing? It's really, really cheap! 20p a day PER CAT. Cheap, healthy and tasty (once the palette is re-educated) Even Whiskas can't beat that!

    7) Conspricacy theory - now I'm a cynic I admit it, and much as I would like to believe that Whiskas and Felix type food companies have done all the relevant 'scientific research' to prove a 4% meat food with added fillers like rice and grain and vegetables have no effect on a cats health LONG TERM, when the cat in the wild doesn't eat any of these foods and it's constitution has a great deal of trouble digesting and processing these foods, I don't. I don't even believe that they have compared 70% meat to 4% meat products. I accept they put in all the required vits etc. So cynical me looks to the money side of things. This stuff isn't that bad that it kills cats short term, and cats lives are varied and the causes of problems can often be attributed to more that one thing as pet cats aren't lab cats and aren't a controlled study group. However, the global economy being what it is, market forces and advertising being as large an influence on Joe Public as they are, someone somewhere is raking it in. It does the job, badly, but it does the job. Why mess with a formula that gives maximum profit, that people buy in large numbers, to change to formula would increase the price, so would lose market share, lose profits, etc. Why mend something which in their eyes isn't broken, just for the good of cats? It might give them an extra 2-3 years life but it would costs millions in profit.

    8) Vets as part of the conspiracy? - very little of vet training is given over to cat dietry requirements, vets are paid a rather large commision on the dry food they sell at the surgery - a large incentive in a commercial practise (there is no NHS for cats). Not saying vets are in on the conspiracy just that often they know no better - 5 years at vet school isn't enough to know everything about every animal. My vet is happy I feed raw. Says I know more than him. He admits he prefers cows, sheep and horses to small animals.

    9) RSPCA - any food is better than no food. The RSPCA have better things to do than go chasing down huge commercial companies - I'd rather they spent the publics' money on abuse and welfare cases and shutting down puppy farms etc not corporate lawyers and research the companies should be doing. Feeding whiskas isn't cruelty just, in my opinion, ill advised. However, needs must.

    Hope that provides more discussion material.
     
  13. catbasket

    catbasket PetForums Member

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    Indeed :D

    Unfortunately it is the weekend and I have consumed alcohol*. I'll try to give a sensible answer when sober. Thanks for taking the time to give a detailed reply, apologies I can't do the same at the moment.

    * It's not big and it's not clever. Do not try this at home.
     
  14. spid

    spid PetForums VIP

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    lol - I didn't try it at home - went to the nextdoor neighbors instead!
     
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