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Center-Sinai Animal Hospital  
Serving the Los Angeles Community since 1969

10737 Venice Blvd.  
Los Angeles, CA 90034 
(310) 559-3770 

Full range of pet care and emergency  veterinary services available

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Read a question and answer from our archives here, and scroll down to ask me a question you and your pet have been pondering!  Check articles and questions others have asked using the Ask Dr. B and Pet Conditions buttons, and check our stories, too. Please note: if you believe your pet's situation is critical, Dr. Baum urges you to contact your vet ASAP. Click cat button to play Ask Dr. B music!


Dear Dr. Baum --

My 13 year old cat has dental problems. He has a coating of brownish plaque all over his teeth along with a green substance along the right back side of his gums. His dental problems have been ongoing. What do you believe this problem is? What can be done? Is it very expensive to treat?

With my first check, I would love to fix this and hopefully prolong his life. I'm 16 and working part time and I don't have a lot of money. My mother refuses to pay for vet bills. Please answer. Your advice could maybe convince her to help me pay.

Thank you,
Corinne, NYC

Dear Corinne--

The basic question is relatively easy, but the solution could vary from easy to complex.

What you describe on the teeth is a deposition of a substance known as tarter. This results from a failure to keep the teeth clean. Tarter is a good place for bacteria to hang out and cause infections in the surrounding gums. When infections occur the gums will often swell and have a foul odor. Ultimately the teeth start to loosen and can fall out. Infections in the mouth can also cause problems in the heart or kidneys. The obvious remedy is to have the teeth cleaned. Depending on the cat's state of health this can be a minor procedure or a more serious one as in most cases a general anesthetic is used. My advice is to have your cat examined by a veterinarian. He or she may want to do a blood test prior to giving an anesthetic.

After the teeth are cleaned and any infections are cleared up, you should start a program of oral hygiene. This would consist of wiping or gently brushing the teeth at home one to two times per week.

Costs for these services can vary from $200 and up.

Good luck!
Dr. Baum

NOTE: If you live in the Los Angeles area and your pets need care for their teeth, check our weekly low cost dental clinics.

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