Senior FIV+ Kidney Disease and Infected Tooth (Dental)?!

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Senior FIV+ Kidney Disease and Infected Tooth (Dental)?!

Post by Baymax » Wed Sep 12, 2018 9:54 pm

Hi everyone,

We have a senior FIV+ boy who we adopted 4 years ago from a rescue - he came from a rescue in Romania originally so we are not sure exactly how old he is, but he’s been through the wars a bit! We suspect he’s now around 15yo.

Within the first year, he started drooling and his breath smelt - the vet said he had bad gum disease and that all teeth should be taken out. We went ahead with the procedure but they left in two teeth as these were not affected at the time. They found a slight issue with his kidneys but said it’s common in older cats and that gum disease could be contributing.

A few months ago we noticed him dribbling again sometimes in the hot weather, but didn’t think much of it (kicking ourselves now) - until one day there was a lot of blood around the house and he had to be rushed to the vets. The vet said his back tooth was wobbly, sore, and needs removing. He must’ve dislodged it eating dry kibble. This hasn’t happened since we changed him to wet food only...

We agreed and took him in for the procedure, but got a phone call after they took the bloods to say that putting him under was extremely high risk and the chances of him pulling through were minimal - and even if he did pull through, his body might not cope afterwards. They also told us that his kidneys are in an extremely bad way and his white blood cell count is poor (he is anemic). They gave him a number of weeks to live whether he has the tooth out or not, which was hard to take in.

Given that he seems himself, is eating and drinking well, and honestly we were not prepared to never see him again if he didn’t pull through, we decided not to go through with the extraction of the one tooth and to have him home where we now need to monitor him and make the decision of when to put him to sleep (assuming the advise of the vet was true and he has a number of weeks before renal failure catches up with him).

I’m now worried that we should’ve taken the risk and I feel selfish for not putting him through the tooth extraction. He’s showing no signs of pain but the tooth is wobbly and he’s still dribbling a little. I’ve read that cats are good at hiding pain and it’s difficult to know the best thing to do, especially as we now don’t know how long he’s got left and whether he’s in any physical pain.

Ideally we wanted the extraction to go ahead so he had no discomfort, even if he only had a few weeks to live with the kidney failure anyway, but the idea of not bringing him home all of a sudden was too much and we weren’t prepared for it.

Should we risk the anaesthetic? Would the one back tooth be causing him pain? Does anyone have any tips on when to make “the decision” with cats with advanced kidney disease? He’s not showing signs at the moment, but we are taking every day as it comes - as soon as he shows signs of deterioration I think we will make the decision then.

Sorry for the extremely long post. It’s all a bit of a shock and come suddenly. Any advise would be appreciated as we are trying to do the best thing for our boy. :)

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Re: Senior FIV+ Kidney Disease and Infected Tooth (Dental)?!

Post by Lilith » Thu Sep 13, 2018 11:52 am

Hi and welcome and very sorry to hear about the poor guy.

I can't advise on the dental thing - nevertheless the vet must have had a good reason for advising against it at the time. Other people on here might be able to shed more light on this problem.

But as to the kidney disease, I lost one recently (Emily, avatar cat) and she was doing pretty well since diagnosis, but going by a previous cat who'd shown no sign of disease, I knew to look out for listlessness and loss of appetite in the first instance. This can be a sign of kidney failure, uraemia, which causes massive discomfort and death. Dialysis can be advised, but is a respite, not a cure; the condition can't be reversed.

On the day before her death Emmy was cheerful, naughty, greedy (three lunches!) and thoroughly demanding. The following morning, when she would have been yelling for breakfast at 6am, she was fast asleep. She slept on and when she woke, she didn't want food, but wandered into the garden to lie in the sun ... I called the vet and was lucky to get a home visit. Emily was very dehydrated (this is a cat who drank a lot.) If in doubt, lift the scruff gently; if it stays up in a crest, that's a sign of dehydration. But afterwards, lying on a towel and puppy pads and kitchen roll, she wet herself copiously - all that liquid seemed not to have supplied any fluids to her body - her system seemed to have packed up. I'd refused dialysis for her as she would have hated hospitalisation and the vet said that she agreed with me, it was better to let Emmy go than to mess her about with dialysis.

This is just my own and Emily's experience of course - all cats are different. But I hope this gives you some idea of what to expect at the end.

Again I'm so sorry to hear about him and hope you get more advice re dental work. But they do go on enjoying life right up till the end, if my Emily's behaviour was anything to go by, and I hope you all have some good times together yet - all the very best, Lil.

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