kitty cavities

kitty cavities
Our feline friends are prone to a unique dental condition called feline odontoclastic resorptive lesions, otherwise known as FORLs, or neck lesions. FORLs affect a cat’s teeth at the gum line and occur in more than 50 percent of the general cat population, regardless of breed or age.

Veterinarians don’t completely understand why FORLs occur, but they remain the most common cause of tooth loss in feline friends. Teeth develop lesions resembling large cavities at the gum line, and when enough of the tooth is affected, it can break off. Sometimes the tooth root is resorbed, and sometimes it is not.


In any case, FORLs are extremely painful. They may cause decreased appetite, weight loss, bad breath, trouble chewing and depression. Pet owners may notice gingivitis (redness of the gums), and occasionally can spot the FORLs themselves.
Veterinarians can diagnose FORLs during a physical examination. Because severe disease causes the crown to fracture, dental X-rays are always taken to check for the degree of tooth root resorption. It is not unusual to find tooth roots still present where there are no visible teeth, due to severe resorptive lesions.
Treatment involves completely removing the affected teeth under anesthesia. It may sound scary, but don’t worry. Though your cat may come home with fewer teeth, he’ll never miss them (or the pain they caused)!