19 Virtually edentulous, no clinical signs of root resorption
The cat had always had an extremely good appetite until roughly a month ago, when she started having trouble eating. She seemed to want to eat but had trouble swallowing and would stop eating after a few mouthfuls. In the last 2 weeks she had not been eating at all and barely drinking. She was drooling continuously. She was referred to us for evaluation and management.
The cat had never had any oral or dental problems. In fact, she had never had her teeth scaled and polished. The owner was very clear that they had restricted finances and would only want treatment if I could guarantee successful outcome at minimal cost.
ORAL EXAMINATION – CONSCIOUS
The cat was distressed and would only allow a cursory conscious examination of the face and oral cavity. She was virtually edentulous, with only the right upper canine tooth evident. All edentulous areas were covered by clinically healthy gingivae. She strongly resented attempts to open the mouth, so this was abandoned.
ORAL EXAMINATION – UNDER GENERAL ANAESTHETIC
Examination under general anaesthesia confirmed that 104 was the only remaining tooth. There was no evidence of any pathology affecting 104 based on inspection and tactile exploration with a dental explorer. There was no inflammation of the gingivae and oral mucous membranes. However, a large, right-sided tonsillar mass was identified. The owner did not want any further treatment (likelihood of squamous cell carcinoma and poor prognosis) and the cat was euthanized.
I was given permission to take a series of full-mouth radiographs and submit a section of the tonsillar mass for histopathology. This was for my own interest and the client was not charged. I wanted to confirm that the mass really was a squamous cell carcinoma and I was interested in the dental findings.
The series of full-mouth radiographs (eight views) identified numerous teeth in different stages of replacement resorption. See Figs 19.1, 19.2, 19.3, 19.4 and 19.5 for details of radiographic findings.
Figure 19.1 Rostrocaudal radiograph (a) and right lateral radiograph (b) of the rostral upper jaw.