Lulu is a 15 year old spayed female cat whose owners had recently noticed a change in her personality and routine. She had taken to hiding under furniture and often seemed withdrawn. In the past, Lulu had been eager at mealtime but now regularly walked away from the bowl without eating anything. Her family was concerned about her health and brought her to Ryegate Small Animal Hospital (RSAH).

While the majority of her physical exam was normal, Dr. Hyde was able to find one possible factor for Lulu’s melancholy – a diseased tooth that her owners were not able to see at home. Hopeful that removing the problem tooth would restore Lulu’s interest in food, her owners scheduled Lulu for a dental cleaning and tooth extraction.

After arriving at RSAH on the day of her dental procedure, Lulu was anesthetized and Dr. Hyde was able to perform a complete oral examination. As part of this exam, Dr. Hyde took some dental radiographs (x-rays) to evaluate the diseased tooth below the gum-line. Even if the teeth appear normal, there can sometimes be disease or other issues lurking underneath the gums that is impossible to see without a radiograph. Lulu’s dental radiograph is below. Something is not right; can you spot it?

On the right side of the image, there appears to be a “hole” below one of the teeth. The “hole” is actually a dental abscess, which is a pocket of infection caused by a diseased tooth. Dr. Hyde removed the tooth and gave Lulu an antibiotic injection to combat the infection.

Lulu was much more comfortable after the problem tooth was removed. How do we know?

This is Lulu just a few hours after her dental procedure! Even though she was still a little groggy, she gravitated to the food bowl and finished her entire meal … for the first time in a long time!